Celebrate Safely and Plan Ahead So That Fireworks and Other Loud Noises Do Not Cause Permanent Damage
As the Fourth of July holiday draws near and the planning of celebrations begin, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) reminds the public of the importance of protecting one’s hearing from loud noises, especially fireworks.
Although hearing loss is often believed to be an issue that progresses over time, it can also be caused by an instantaneous loud noise. Hearing loss due to exposure to intense sounds has become more prevalent in today’s society. Approximately 15% of Americans ages 20-69 have hearing loss that may have been caused by exposure to noise. Taking simple steps to protect the hearing of all family members can prevent potentially lifelong consequences.
ASHA offers these hearing protection tips this Fourth of July:
These are the categories that each contains a plethora of worksheets, tips, activities, and visual aids for our struggling students (and adults!). Today I printed about a dozen worksheets from the “PRONOUN” section. I have one preschool student in particular who gets stuck on “her said” and “his said” frequently. I used these worksheets with her (used sheet protectors in a nice tidy workbook I made) and had her use a dry erase marker to circle the correct answers.
She loved it!
They also have a whole page dedicated to “MINIMAL PAIRS LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES”. The page includes contrast cards (great colorful pictures) as a PDF or a word document (so you can edit it as needed) which address everything from antonyms to pronouns to multiple meaning words.
You can find all this great grammar ideas free at:
Everyone speaks with an accent. You may speak English with an accent from a different region in the United States. You may speak English with an accent because English is not your first language. You may speak French with an English accent. In our world today, people move from state to state and from country to country. One thing that we take with us no matter where we move is our accent.
• What is an accent?
• How do accents affect communication?
• Can I change my accent?
• What can I expect from a speech-language pathologist?
What is an accent?
An accent is the unique way that speech is pronounced by a group of people speaking the same language. A person’s accent depends on many factors; however, accents are usually grouped in the following way:
• Regional Accents – for example, people who are from Texas often sound different than people who are from New York.
• Foreign Accents – for example, someone who was raised speaking English will sound different than someone who was raised speaking Spanish and learned English as an adult.
Accents are a natural part of spoken languages. It is important to realize that no accent is better than another. It should also be stressed that accents are NOT a speech or language disorder.
How do accents affect communication?
Accents reflect the unique characteristics and background of a person. Many people take great pride in their accents. However, some people may have difficulty communicating because of their accent. These difficulties include the following:
• People not understanding you
• Avoiding social interaction with those who may not understand you
• Frustration from having to repeat yourself all the time
• People focusing on your accent more than on what you are trying to say
These types of communication problems may have negative effects on job performance, educational advancement, and everyday life activities. It may also negatively affect your self-esteem if you are having trouble communicating because of an accent. For all of these reasons, some people want to modify or change their accent.
Can I change my accent?
Yes, with lots of hard work, practice, and the help of a qualified speech-language pathologist (SLP), you can learn how to change your speech pronunciation. Changing your accent is also known as “accent modification” or “accent reduction.” An SLP can provide services to speakers who want to modify or reduce their accent. People who receive these types of services include the following:
• Non-native English speakers
• Speakers who want to reduce a regional accent
• Business and medical professionals who want to improve their communication skills because of a foreign or regional accent
• Actors who need to learn a new accent for a role or performance
What can I expect from a speech-language pathologist?
You should first receive a thorough evaluation of your individual speech pattern. The SLP will evaluate your:
• Sound pronunciation (consonants and vowels)
• Stress, rhythm, and intonation of speech
You may be asked to read words, sentences, and paragraphs. The SLP will also listen to your speech in conversation. After all of this information has been collected, the SLP will determine what can be done to modify your accent and improve your overall communication. A set of goals based on your individual needs should be developed. Training sessions may be individual or in small groups.
As noted before, speaking with an accent is not a speech or language disorder. Because of this, services to change your accent are not covered by insurance. At Nancy Foreman & Associates we can setup a payment plan to help you. Call us at 713-669-8635.
Speech Spotlight & Super Kid’s Events In The Loop
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Are you concerned that your kids spend too much time on tablets, smartphones, or other devices? Do you have fewer conversations with your kids than you’d like because of technology distractions? Do you find yourself constantly asking your kids to lower the volume on devices because you can hear the music blaring through their earbuds or headphones?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are a typical parent in the digital age. These are struggles for most of us as technology increasingly becomes central to our lives and our children’s lives.
During May, my professional association-the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)-celebrates Better Hearing & Speech Month. Given that, I want to take this opportunity to remind you of the important roles that verbal communication and personal interaction-free from technology distractions-play in children’s academic and social development.
Kids today are using devices for hours every day-time that once was reserved for talking and reading, interactive and imaginative play, outdoor experiences, and other activities. Yet, the primary way young children develop their speech and language abilities is through verbal exchange-talking and reading with parents. This is a precursor for their own reading abilities and overall academic success. Children also learn from hands-on experiences. Educational apps can play a part, but they are in no way a replacement for what is learned through person-to-person communication. As we head into the summer months, when children no doubt will have more time to use devices, consider carving out some device-free time each day. You may be surprised by how little they (and you) miss it!
Another pressing issue related to technology use is hearing damage. Unfortunately, there has been a significant spike in hearing loss in young people in recent years. This coincides with the rise in popularity of mp3 players, tablets, and other devices. Even mild hearing loss can lead to reduced academic achievement (particularly in reading and math), poor self-concept, and feelings of social isolation, among other consequences-so, encourage your kids to keep the volume on their devices to half level and to take listening breaks. Hearing loss due to unsafe listening habits can be prevented, but once it occurs, it is irreversible. Teach (and model yourself) these good habits early.
Finally, this is an opportunity for me to remind you about my availability should you have any concerns about your child’s communication development. Speech, language, and hearing disorders are among the most common disorders in school-aged children. Communication disorders are also treatable and some can even be prevented if identified early.
Nancy L. Foreman
2525 Bissonnet, Suite 250
Bellaire, TX 77401