Let’s Talk Screen Time!

Let’s Talk Screen Time!

How it may affect your toddler’s speech and language development:

https://digitalpublishing2015.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/technology-educating-todays-digital-native-children/

Screens are nearly impossible to avoid in our daily lives, from televisions, phones, tablets and even screens in cars and emerging in public transportation. New research by the Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario launched research findings indicating that children under the age of two spend an average of 28 minutes daily with a handheld device. Strikingly, every 30-minute increase in daily screen time was linked to a 49% increase in expressive language delays (using sounds and words to communicate). The study did not find a link between screen time and social or gesture communication skills.

This new research is just the beginning of more research to come, but supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of limited screen time for toddlers:

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting.
  • Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
  • For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.

While the research is out, it can be difficult to avoid screens in our daily life. Here are some tips to make screen time more beneficial for you and your toddler.

  • Pick age-appropriate apps or programs. Apps or programs built around daily routines of grooming, playing and eating are easy for toddlers to relate to!
  • Play and/or watch together! Make this a special time with your toddler and practice stopping the screen to talk about what is happening and how that might relate to your life.
  • Set a timer. It is easy to get caught up in an activity, set a timer for a clear expectation for you and your child to know screen time is over.
  • Take videos and pictures of activities you and your child play together, look back at the pictures and talk about the activity!
  • Designate non-screen time into your day. The vast majority of your child’s day should be spent interacting with toys, peers, and caregivers to build cognitive, problem solving, positive social-emotional, gross motor, fine motor, and speech and language skills

Jessie Delos Reyes, MA, CCC-SLP

Full research details:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/04/health/babies-screen-time-speech-delays-study/index.html

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-recommendations-for-childrens-media-use.aspx

“What is auditory processing? Does that mean my child can’t hear?”

“I think my child has a hearing problem. They don’t always follow directions and often need me to repeat things.”

There is a common misconception among the families in the speech and hearing world that a child who presents with an auditory processing disorder can’t hear or that a child who has difficulty answering questions or following directions has a hearing impairment.  While the term may sound confusing as both issues concern the auditory system, they are in fact very different from one another. Below are some fast facts on what auditory processing is and is not.

What it is/may present with:

  • Auditory processing disorders are conditions where children have difficulty processing the meaning of the sounds they hear.
  • A disconnect between what the ear hears and the brain processes
  • A breakdown in receiving, remembering, understanding, and then utilizing auditory information
  • The inability to interpret, organize, or analyze what they’ve heard.
  • May have difficulty following directions, especially more than one direction/step at a time
  • May often need information repeated/rephrased
  • May need extra pause time for processing before responding
  • May look confused, give a blank stare, or often ask “huh?” or “what?”
  • Appear easily distracted or bored, especially when conversations/activities don’t include visuals
  • May become upset, angry, or frightened by loud noises and noisy environments
  • Increased difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments
  • Display poor memory for words and numbers
  • May have difficulty with complex language such as word problems, riddles and jokes, or a long story
  • Struggle to hear the difference in similar sounding words
  • Have difficulty paying attention for appropriate amounts of time
  • Have difficulty expressing complex speech
  • Struggle with language skills, including reading/reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, and understanding information presented verbally

What it is not:

  • A hearing impairment; all the parts of the hearing pathway are working well.
  • ADHD, Dyslexia, or Sensory Processing (although many children with these disorders struggle with auditory issues as well)
  • Not the result of more global deficits such as autism, intellectual disabilities, attention deficits, or similar impairments.
  • Not defiance or laziness in a child
  • It is not rare-research suggests it is in 2-7 percent of U.S. children
  • Not a lack of intelligence

Diagnosing either hearing loss or APD requires a multidisciplinary team:

  • A pediatric ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor will assess any medical problems with the hearing pathway (e.g. ear infection, fluid in the ears, etc.)
  • An audiologist will test hearing sensitivity to determine if there is a hearing loss and administer the series of tests that will determine if APD is present.
  • The speech language pathologist (SLP) will test developmental milestones in speech and written language.
  • The teacher or an educational expert will look at/identify academic difficulties (as well as implement modifications to the classroom after diagnosis)
  • psychologist will evaluate cognitive functioning.

Things to remember:

  • Even if your child has multiple symptoms of APD, only careful and accurate diagnosis can determine if APD is actually present.
  • Although a multidisciplinary team approach is important in fully understanding all difficulties/aspects associated with APD, the diagnosis of APD can only be made by an audiologist.
  • Treatment of APD is highly individualized. There is no one treatment approach that is appropriate for all children with APD.

For further information, call us at PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. for a language evaluation or ongoing therapy after your child has been diagnosed!

Therese Schmidt, MS, CCC-SLP

Eating Habits- Picky or Problematic?

Is my child simply a picky eater? Or should I be more concerned?

Many children go through a phase of picky eating, some longer than others, that is not usually cause for concern. Some days it seems impossible to get them to eat anything other than goldfish or cake pops, and vegetables aren’t even up for discussion! However, some children demonstrate behaviors that may indicate a feeding problem or disorder. These difficulties may present as sensory challenges, such as only eating brown, crunchy foods, or as oral-motor challenges, such as excessive drooling or food falling out of their mouth while eating.

The following is a list of red flags that may tell you if your child would benefit from the support of a feeding specialist:

Children develop feeding challenges as a result of negative associations with eating. These associations may be caused by various medical or sensory complications, such as sensory processing disorder, food allergies, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or motor-planning disorders.

If you have concerns about your child’s feeding skills, consult with your pediatrician and an occupational therapist or a speech-language pathologist to help you determine if your child may need additional feeding support.

Autumn Smith, MS, CCC-SLP
Director of Speech-Language Services