Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How can we bridge the language gap?

The average 18-month-old child has been exposed to 4,380 hours of oral language at a rate of 8 hours/day from birth. A child who has a communication board/device and receives speech/language therapy twice a week for 20-30 minute sessions will reach this same amount of language exposure in 84 years. -Jane Korsten

How can we bridge this gap?

Aided language stimulation. Aided language stimulation refers to the act of an adult pointing to icons on a language device/board while speaking the word OR activating icons on a device. This allows both communication partners to be giving and receiving language input. This stimulation will aid your child's ability to understand and generate language.

My 5-year-old Brady used a communication device from age 3 until shortly before his fifth birthday when he became verbal enough that he no longer used his device. My 3-year-old Ty is preverbal, and currently uses the Vantage Lite since his brother was kind enough to pass it down to him. So when our speech therapists at Helping Hands shared this information with me and challenged us to use Ty's device to give augmented input, I was blown away at the language exposure statistic. So many of our kids are late talkers or go through their entire lives nonverbal...we should all learn from this statement and begin to expose these amazing children to the language they so desperately need!!!

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