Category Archives: Parent Information

Identify the Signs

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Identify the Signs of Communication Disorders: A Critical Tool

Thousands of young children in Houston went back to school this September. During the initial months of the school year, there is heightened attention on students’ development and academic progress. Let us hope they have healthy speech and hearing, for there aren’t many other settings where the ability to communicate matters more.

With our years of experience working in the field of communication disorders, our therapists have seen the debilitating effects that these issues can have on the people of Houston when left untreated. Too often, people of all ages struggle with these challenges and fail to seek proper, timely treatment because they cannot recognize the early warning signs. Early detection of speech, language and hearing issues is absolutely critical to improving academic, social and career outcomes.

For people with communication disorders, those closest to them are often their biggest asset. Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers are unable to identify the early warning signs of these issues or dismiss them too readily. A recent poll of the speech-language pathologists and audiologists of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)—a professional association of which all of our speech pathologists are members of—reported significant parental delays in getting help for children with communication difficulties.

To remedy that, ASHA has launched a national campaign, Identify The Signs. This multimedia effort addresses the importance of early detection, helps the public identify the early warning signs of communication disorders, and encourages people to seek the best professional help through a series of TV, radio, print and digital public service announcements and a media outreach push. We encourage you to visit www.IdentifyTheSigns.org for information and resources, and to share it in your community. Above all, though, we hope you will seek help if you suspect that you or a loved one shows signs of having a disorder.

Please visit www.IdentifyTheSigns.org and learn more about the early signs of speech, language and hearing disorders. Early diagnosis is the most powerful way to reduce or even reverse their impact and can give your loved ones the opportunity to lead the fullest lives possible.

It’s Back to School Time

school supplies back to school

August is here! It is time to get ready to go back to school. Team Communication Essentials will be collecting school supplies to donate to the YMCA Operation Backpack from August 5th through August 9th. Please drop off all donations of backpack and school supplies at the office by Friday, August 9th.

YMCA Operation Backpack is an annual event that provides school supplies and backpacks to children throughout Greater Houston. The supplies are a great help to children in our area to assist them with the successful start of the new school year. For additional information regarding YMCA Operation Backpack, please visit http://www.ymcahouston.org/operation-backpack/.

May is Better Hearing & Speech Month

Better Hearing and Speech MonthTeam Communication Essentials is delighted to celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month. Each May, The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) sponsors this annual event to provide opportunities to raise awareness about communication disorders and to promote treatment that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, understanding, or hearing. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association(ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 166,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students.

During this month, Team Communication Essentials has a variety of activities planned to recognize Better Hearing & Speech Month. We will be visiting many of our community partners to donate books to increase public awareness of the relationship between early literacy and language development. We will also provide our speech therapy team with literacy activites to share with our patients and families to help build strong language skills.

Team Communication Essentials will also sponsor a book drive to support R.E.A.D. for Houston (Recycle Engage And Donate), a local community organization that collects new and gently-used books to deliver to community centers that work with at-risk youth or promote early literacy through reading. Many centers, including area YMCA and Headstart facilities, have been past benefactors of R.E.A.D. for Houston projects. If you would like to support this effort, please contact our office.

During Better Hearing & Speech Month, we also take this opportunity to recognize the contributions of our amazing group of speech-language professionals. Our experienced team of pediatric speech-language pathologists and speech-language pathologist-assistants dilegently work to provide our patients with intensive language experiences to improve their overall communication skills. We work together to help our patients build essential communication skills to last a lifetime.

For more information regarding Better Hearing & Speech Month, please visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website at www.asha.org.

Developmental Milestones

Children Reaching

Developmental milestones are important markers that we use to monitor if a child is attaining developmentally appropriate skills. Children typically develop certain skills at certain ages. Children often develop at their own pace. These milestones give you an idea of general development for gross motor, fine motor, and speech-language skills. If you are concerned that your child has not met these developmental milestones at the appropriate ages, please contact your child’s physician.

0-3 Months
•Turn their heads toward bright colors and lights
•Recognize bottle or breast
•Respond to their mother’s voice
•Make cooing sounds
•Bring their hands together
•Wiggle and kick with arms and legs
•Lift head when on stomach
•Become quiet in response to sound, especially to speech
•Brings hands within range of eyes and mouth
•Make cooing sounds
•Grasps and shakes hand toys
•Attempts to imitate sounds

3-6 Months
•Reach and grasp for objects
•Play with toes
•Roll over
•Sit with only a little support
•Bounce when held in a standing position
•Move toys from one hand to another
•Laugh and squeal in delight
•Smile at themselves in a mirror

6-9 Months
•Supports all weight on their legs
•Finds partially hidden object
•Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
•Responds to own name
•Responds to sound by making sounds
•Reaches with one hand
•Sits with, and then without, support of their hands
•Explores with hands and mouth

9-12 Months
•Get to a sitting position
•Stand briefly without support
•Crawl
•Imitate adults using a cup or telephone
•Play peek-a-boo and patty cake
•Wave bye-bye
•Put objects in a container
•Make “ma-ma” or “da-da” sounds
•Drink from a cup with help
•Grasp small objects using thumb and index/forefinger
•Pull themselves to stand or takes steps by holding onto furniture
•Put small blocks in and take them out of a container
•Feed themselves finger foods like raisins
•Copy sounds and actions you make

1-2 Years
•Like to push and pull objects
•Say at least six words
•Follow simple directions
•Pull off shoes, socks, and mittens
•Can point to a picture that you name in a book
•Feed themselves
•Make marks on paper with crayons
•Walk without help
•Walk backwards
•Point, make sounds and try to use words to ask for things
•Stack two blocks
•Says 8-10 words you can understand
•Ask for something by pointing or using one word
•Drink from straw
•Feed themselves with a spoon
•Toss or roll a ball

2-3 Years
•Use two-to-three-word sentences
•Say about 50 words
•Recognize familiar pictures
•Kick a ball forward
•Feed themselves with a spoon
•Demands a lot of your attention
•Turn two or three pages together
•Identify hair, eyes, ears, and nose by pointing
•Shows affection
•Hum or try to sing
•Imitates others
•Apply pretend actions on others
•Refer to self by name or use “me” and “mine”
•Verbalize desires and feelings
•Enjoys looking at one book repeatedly

3-4 Years
•Throw a ball overhand
•Ride a tricycle
•Put on their shoes
•Open the door
•Turn one page at a time
•Play with other children for a few minutes
•Repeat common rhymes
•Use three -to-five-word sentences
•Name at least one color correctly
•Dresses and undresses themselves
•Draws circles and squares
•Kick ball forward
•Hops and stands on one foot up to five seconds
•Follows a three-part command
•Understands the concept of counting

4-5 Years
•Use five to six word sentences
•Go up and down stairs without support
•Understand the concept of counting and may know a few numbers
•Draw a person with two to four body parts
•Recall parts of a story
•Begin to have a clearer sense of time
•Understand the concepts of “same” and “different”
•Imagine that many unfamiliar images may be “monsters”
•Stands on one foot for ten seconds or longer
•Swings, climbs
•Cares for own toilet needs
•Uses future tense
•Understands the concept of time
•Prints some letters
•Build a tower of six to eight blocks

For more information regarding developmental milestones, please visit the Center for Disease Control’s “Learn the Signs, Act Early” Campaign website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html