May is Better Hearing & Speech Month

Each May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and the role of professionals like Speech-Language Pathologists in providing life-altering treatment.

Here are some facts about communications disorders from ASHA:

  • 1 in 4 parents have had concerns about their child’s ability to communicate
  • 95% of parents agree that speech, language, and hearing milestones are some of the most important developmental milestones
  • More than a quarter (27%) of concerned parents did not seek help for their child, most commonly because they didn’t know where to go for help
  • Although most parents are confident that they know the signs of communication disorders, just 23% are able to correctly identify a solid majority (75% or more) of the provided signs of communication disorders, and only 5% are able to correctly identify all the provided signs of communication disorders
  • Of parents who sought treatment, 8 in 10 (81%) said that their child showed a “great deal” or “a good amount” of improvement

Here are some of the warning signs of communication disorders from ASHA:

Signs of a language disorder:

  • Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
  • Does not babble (4-7 months)
  • Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7-12 months)
  • Does not understand what others say (7 months-2 years)
  • Says only a few words (12-18 months)
  • Words are not easily understood (18 months-2 years)
  • Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5-3 years)
  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)

Signs of a speech disorder:

  • Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1-2 years)
  • Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2-3 years)
  • Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2-3 years)
  • Repeats first sounds of words: “b-b-b-ball” for “ball”
  • Speech breaks while trying to say a word: “——boy” for “boy”
  • Stretches sounds out: “ffffff-farm” for “farm”
  • Shows frustration when trying to get words out

Signs of hearing loss:

  • Shows a lack of attention to sounds (birth-1 year)
  • Does not respond when you call his/her name (7 months-1 year)
  • Does not follow simple directions (1-2 years)
  • Shows delays in speech and language development (birth-3 years)
  • Pulls or scratches at his/her ears
  • Has difficulty achieving academically, especially in reading and math
  • Is socially isolated and unhappy at school