May is speech and hearing awareness month

It’s never too early to have your child’s speech and language skills checked, says a speech and language pathologist with the David Thompson Health Region (DTHR).

It’s never too early to have your child’s speech and language skills checked, says a speech and language pathologist with the David Thompson Health Region (DTHR).

“Early identification of a speech and language delay is important to help your child be successful when they start school,” said Janis Carscadden, regional manager of speech language pathology. Parents can help by watching for early signs of problems. For example, children should be saying 10-20 words by the age of 18 months.

“The earlier that delays are identified, the better the treatment outcomes,” she said.

In DTHR speech-language pathologists work with preschool children (birth to age five) at community health centres throughout the region. The service involves assessing and treating articulation, language, fluency, voice and hearing delays or disorders. Services are also provided through schools. Children can be referred by their parent, family doctor or classroom teacher.

Audiology (hearing) services are provided free of charge for those aged six months to 18 years. Referrals can come from a parent, doctor, or teacher. Again, parents should watch for early signs of difficulties. For example a three to six month old should look upward or turn toward a new sound, respond to changes in tone of voice, enjoy rattles or loud toys and repeat simple sounds such as “ooh, aah, ba-ba.” Testing is available in Red Deer four days per week and once per month in Drayton Valley, Drumheller, Stettler and Wetaskiwin.

Families are encouraged to participate in their child’s speech and language treatment by coming in to observe therapy sessions and/or completing homework.

May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month in Canada. To find out more visit www.caslpa.ca or talk to your health care provider.

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