The Role of Speech in Children's Social Emotional Health and Development

The Role of Speech in Children’s Social Emotional Health and Development

From the moment a child is born, they are continually maturing and developing. Perhaps one of the most critical developments for a child is within their social-emotional health. Speech plays an essential role in this development.

People love communicating, which is why it is one of the most essential skills for an individual to develop. When it comes to children’s social-emotional development, some just need time. Others need early intervention, though, and can benefit from speech therapy.

Speech in Children’s Social-Emotional Health and Development

The development of speech and self-expression skills is absolutely vital in the development of a child’s social-emotional health. Taking place in early childhood, the development of communication skills allows a child to form a basic understanding of the world. It will enable them to adequately and efficiently express their feelings and ideas.

Regardless of your age, emotions are a complex concept. In order to help navigate and express feelings, proper speech development is essential. When a child’s speech development is underdeveloped, this can severely limit their capacity to both processes and express their emotions.

Speech is also important for academic success. Besides the obvious connection of writing and verbal communication with learning, there are also other factors speech plays in academics. Mainly, children are keen observers of their environment and peers.

It is this observation that makes them well aware of any differences between them and their classmates. If a child’s speech development is behind or differs from the other children, this can negatively impact their emotions and confidence in school, lowering academic performance.

For some of these children, they can also become frustrated and anxious among their peers. Unfortunately, some kids may tease or reject those with speech issues. This can potentially have a severely negative impact on a child’s social-emotional health.

Isolation can also occur as, for a coping mechanism, children can use it to avoid these types of uncomfortable situations.

Identifying Speech Issues

Identifying speech issues can allow parents to take proper steps for intervention. Though it may be challenging to identify a speech issue in young children, you can do it when you know some of the common signs and symptoms.

Between the age of six and eighteen months, children should be interacting with other people, understanding the meaning behind some basic words, and beginning to speak. They should be using gestures to communicate by the 12-month mark and turning into full word vocalizations as a primary communication tool by 18 months. Delay or the lack of these milestones can signify a speech issue or another condition.

As children age, issues with their speech and communication skills may present as isolation from others, hindering their social-emotional health. Symptoms of this include children that are easily frustrated, extreme shyness, and emotional outbursts.

Even there are no apparent symptoms of delayed speech or social-emotional health, it is imperative to keep an eye out for speech that is behind that of their peers.

Identifying Properly Developed Speech

How can you tell if your child is appropriately developing their speech and social-emotional health? First, children who are meeting these milestones tend to be happier, listen and follow directions from others, and show interest in other people.

They can also correctly interact with their peers. Not only can they express their emotions, but children with properly developed speech and social-emotional health are more likely to participate in group activities. They can also play and compromise with their peers.

Speech Therapy

If you feel that your child’s speech development is delayed or is negatively impacting their social-emotional health, speech therapy can help. This is especially true if there are facing constant issues with speech-related issues with little or no progress. Just remember that there is an acceptable range of development, so comparing your child to their peers may not always be the best way to identify an issue.

However, talking to your child’s teacher or doctor will give you a better idea if there is a real developmental issue and if speech therapy may help. They have received specific training to identify speech and development issues and can help you get the help your child needs.

When locating a speech-language pathologist (SLP), you will want to make sure that the therapist and program will fit both the needs of the child and parent. Speak with your pediatrician, friends, family, and other parents for local therapists. The best speech therapists will be knowledgeable and can work with both parent and child easily and comfortably.

Before beginning therapy, an SLP will thoroughly evaluate and diagnose the potential source of the child’s speech delay. Whether it is a structural issue with the mouth or tongue, hearing issues, oral-motor impairment, or other issues, an SLP will tailor the therapy to the child’s needs.

Depending on the age of the child, therapy and intervention styles can vary. For younger children, treatment is stylized around play, group reading, and other group activities. As children grow, speech therapy is sometimes offered in a school setting. SLPs can also recommend the appropriate home practice, which may remove pressure from the child.

The length and frequency of speech therapy can vary based on the child’s age and needs. Usually, treatment lasts anywhere between eight months to one year.

The Role of Speech in Children’s Social-Emotional Health and Development

Speech therapy and early recognition of speech issues can help positively influence a child’s social-emotional health. Give your child the best start for their development and growth by watching out for the symptoms and signs of delayed speech development and taking the appropriate action.

If you’re still looking for the right speech therapy program for your child, contact us today so we can discuss the different solutions we offer.

9 Ways We Can Help With Your Child's Vocabulary Development

9 Ways We Can Help With Your Child’s Vocabulary Development

You wouldn’t be a good parent if you didn’t worry about your kids. But when are you right to have concerns about development?

Language learning is a huge task to master for any child. If you’re concerned about your child’s speech or vocabulary development, check out these tips.

Here are nine ways Great Speech can help.

1. Practice Reading

The more a child reads, the more they get exposed to new words that we don’t use in everyday speech. There are also opportunities to stop and explain words.

Whether we are doing reading exercises during your online speech therapy session or you are reading to your child at home, your child can ask questions. Explaining what words they’ve never heard mean can help improve reading comprehension and develop vocabulary.

2. Talk To Your Child

It can be tedious to converse with a small child all day long. Sometimes it’s even frustrating for only a few minutes because a child isn’t as mature in their social skills as adults. You can get bored fast, or ignore them.

Talking to a child helps them learn new vocabulary. We can converse with your child during their online therapy session and teach them new words like you can at home.

If they are asking you the same question over and over, try asking them a question to redirect the conversation. Toddlers and kids have short attention spans (which we know and can work with during their session). Make the most of their time by switching directions to cut your frustration and keep them talking.

3. Give Simple Definitions

If you use big words to define other big words, a child won’t understand what you’re saying. To give a good explanation, use small words to give simple definitions. We do the same thing when we conduct online therapy sessions.

Help a child remember a word’s definitions using words they already know. For example, if you are defining the word “minuscule,” it’s enough to say that it means “something really, really small.”

As their vocabulary develops, they’ll know more and more words you can use (and we can, during a session) to define new words.

4. Give Basic Examples

When a child hears a definition of a new word, it can help them to hear an example, too. Give a basic example that they will understand, something from their life that makes sense. This is what Great Speech can do during an online therapy session, too.

For the word “minuscule,” try explaining that when they eat a Teddy Graham, it’s minuscule compared to a whole graham cracker. We come up with basic examples that kids can understand to help them develop their vocabulary.

5. Be Clear

Children can get confused when you use a word that sounds the same as another word. To you the words are different, but a child who can’t read yet won’t understand.

To help a child understand what you mean, tell them which thing you mean. For example, if you say, “nail,” explain that you mean the kind of metal nail you hit with a hammer, not a fingernail.

This is the type of differentiation we can do with your child during an online therapy session, too. Confirming which word we mean helps vocabulary development.

6. Say It Several Times

A child needs to hear a new word 4-12 times before it gets added to their vocabulary. Pay attention to how often you use a new word with them. Make sure not to expect them to know it right away.

During an online speech therapy session with Great Speech, we can help explain words many times. We have patience with your children, and we introduce words several times to help with vocabulary development.

7. Let the Child Lead Vocabulary Development

The old maxim of pulling teeth is still the best visual sometimes. Making a child do something they don’t want to do isn’t worth the trouble.

Let the child direct the vocabulary development. Whatever they’re interested in will help them stay engaged. Use words that are part of their varying interests, rather than new words they don’t care about.

We do the same thing with online therapy sessions. We can explore your child’s interests and spend time talking with them and building vocabulary centered around their hobbies.

8. Let the Child Respond

Whether it’s coming up with their own example or asking a question, children need time to respond. Learning involves digesting new information, not only receiving it. After you explain something it’s a good idea to wait a beat or two for the child to catch up.

They may come up with their own example after you give one. They may ask a question to clarify or help them understand. Be open to their speed of comprehension when you’re talking about new words.

We can work in a similar way during the exercises of an online therapy session at Great Speech. Part of developing vocabulary is ensuring a good grasp of the new word.

9. Don’t Move Too Fast

Like Goldilocks in the story of the three bears, your child must find the level of growth that is “just right” for them. Too many new vocabulary words at a time can overwhelm and discourage them. Make sure you aren’t trying to move too fast when introducing new ideas.

We can track your child’s progress and gauge whether they are ready to move on with online therapy sessions. We can also adjust based on their needs. Helping a child learn new vocabulary means moving at the right speed for them.

Long-Lasting Improvement

Being a concerned parent is hard. There is so much to worry about, and vocabulary development is only one on a long list.

From doing exercises with clear, basic definitions and examples to moving at the right speed, online speech therapy sessions with Great Speech can help. Your child will build a treasure trove of new words and you’ll be speechless at their growth.

To schedule a free consultation, visit our website today.