May is Better Speech and Hearing Month, and we all can do our part to help raise awareness.
Many people don’t know just how common speech, language, and hearing disorders are among children. There also tends to be a misconception that if someone has difficulty speaking or if they are deaf, they must have other physical or mental impairments, which simply isn’t true. By spreading the word about BSHM and sharing both facts and personal stories of how speech, language, and hearing disorders have affected your friends or family, you can help make the world a more informed, understanding, and accepting place.
Here are a few stats that we found interesting courtesy of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Feel free to share these on social media!
- Almost 8% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 have had a voice, speech, language, or swallowing disorder in the past 12 months.
- Among children who currently have a speech, language, voice, or swallowing disorder, about 34% of children aged 3-10 have multiple speech or language disorders. That number drops to 25% for children aged 11-17.
- The prevalence of speech and language disorders is highest from the ages of 3 to 6 – during those formative years when most children are learning to speak with fluency (almost always with bumps along the road).
And here are some interesting stats about hearing:
- 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have some degree of hearing loss.
- Between two and three of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with detectable hearing loss in one or both ears.
- More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents.
In addition to outreach on social media, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has put together a great list of ways that you can celebrate Better Speech and Hearing Month.
Personally, we love teaching children about communication through – you guessed it! – play. Here are a few simple games that you can enjoy with your children to help them understand what communication is and why it’s so important.
Simon Says – This classic game is wonderful because it can be played virtually anywhere. Driving in the car, in the park, around the dinner table… you name it. By having your children listen carefully and follow instructions, they can practice some of the fundamental elements of strong communication.
The I Love You Game – Ok, I just made this game up, but I think it’s going to catch on. The game is simple – work with your child to come up with all the different ways that you can express love to one another. You might start by saying “I love you” out loud. Then you could give each other hugs. Or maybe kisses on the cheek. Maybe you could express love with a dance or by doing something nice for each other. See how many fun ways you and your little one can come up with to communicate your love for each other. And when you get tired of being lovey-dovey (if that ever happens), try playing the game with other concepts or emotions like happiness, sadness, and surprise.