How to determine if your child needs emergent literacy assistance:

If your child has one of the following conditions, he/she may need emergent literacy assistance:

hearing impairment
weak muscles around the mouth
cleft lip or palate
breathing disorder
swallowing disorder

In order to identify problems early, talk naturally to your child and take time to listen to him/her. Respond to your child so that he/she knows you have been listening. Accept some speech mistakes as your child develops. Have your child's hearing tested if you find you have to repeat a lot or have to talk loudly to get your child's attention. Seek professional help from an ASHA-certified audiologist or ASHA-certified speech-language therapist if you're unsure. ASHA-certified audiologists and speech-language therapists have completed their master's or doctoral degree and have earned ASHA's Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). For more information, visit the ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association) website.

Speech-language therapists and audiologists work in many different types of facilities such as:

Public and private schools
Private practices
Rehabilitation centers
State and local health departments

Here are a few examples of emergent literacy problems a speech therapist can help correct:

Articulation disorders: if your child is having trouble saying certain words correctly. For example, when he/she says "won" instead of "run", or "sue" instead of "shoe". Although small kids often have trouble saying words, older kids who still have trouble may need emergent literacy assistance.

Fluency disorders: if your child repeats certain sounds, making it hard to complete a word, he/she may have a fluency disorder. For example, when he/she says the word "shoe", he/she may get stuck on the "sh" and say "sh-sh-sh-shoe". Or he/she may draw out certain sounds and say "ssssssshoe". Kids who stutter have fluency disorders. There is a normal period of stuttering (from about ages 2 to 5), but after that time kids may need emergent literacy assistance.

Resonance or voice disorders: if people have trouble hearing your child, it may be the result of a voice disorder. He/she may start a sentence loud and clear, but be quiet and mumbling by the end of it. Sometimes kids sound like they have a cold or almost sound like they're talking through their noses. These are examples of voice disorders that require emergent literacy assistance .

Language disorders: if your child is having trouble understanding people when they talk to him/her or if he/she is having trouble putting words together to express his/her thoughts, he/she may need emergent literacy assistance.

Never wait to get help for your child if you suspect a problem. Early identification and treatment of hearing, speech, and language disorders can prevent problems with behavior, learning, reading, and social interactions.

Audiologist: Audiologists are hearing care professionals who specialize in prevention, identification, and assessment of hearing and related disorders and provide assistive devices for emergent literacy .

Speech-language therapist (a.k.a. pathologist): Speech-language therapists help people develop their communication abilities as well as treat speech, languages, swallowing, and voice disorders. Their services include prevention, identification, evaluation, treatment, and emergent literacy assistance.


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