New Episode! Why Middle School Is So Tricky with Jessica Speer
Jan. 10, 2023

Supporting Your Child's Development Through Language with Lenora Edwards, MS, CCC-SLP


Join me this week as we discuss children’s language development. 

My guest this week is the wonderful Lenora Edwards, an ASHA Board Certified Speech Language Pathologist and Chief Knowledge Officer with Better Speech. Lenora has worked with individuals of all ages ranging from young children learning self-expression to adults who want to improve their speaking skills and become more fluent and effective communicators. 

Lenora and I discuss how to encourage the dynamics of language development in the home setting, when and when not to be concerned about a child’s communication progress -  and how the pandemic may have affected our children's overall language development.

Resources: 

Better Speech is an online speech therapy company that has been providing professional, affordable, and convenient speech therapy services for over a decade. https://www.betterspeech.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betterspeech/ 

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/yourbetterspeech/ 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/better-speech/mycompany/ 

Real Life Momz https://www.reallifemomz.com/   

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Transcript

Hi Lenora, welcome to Real Life Momz. I am so excited about our conversation today because today we're talking about talking really, and your speech therapist, and I'm a physical therapist, so I think this is gonna be such a fun conversation because we both tend to work together, um, in our professional life.

Quite closely. Indeed, actually.

Yeah. Even though we haven't met until now, right? Yeah. <laugh>, can you tell us just a little bit about yourself and just what you do?

Absolutely. So my name is Lenora Edwards and I'm a board-certified speech-language pathologist with Better Speech. And we are an online speech therapy company and we've been online since long before the pandemic we are actually over 150 speech-language pathologists strong. And we are throughout the US and we are also internationally based, which is absolutely incredible to be able to provide service to so many people. So it's really, it's quite, quite a blessing and I love being a part of this company.

Yeah. And I actually like looked at the website earlier and it was really cool cuz you can actually scroll through the different therapists you have and I saw there were a hundred, 150 of them. So I didn't see everybody's face <laugh>, but I <laugh>. That's really cool. Just I've never seen that on a platform, so I thought that was really, really cool.

Yeah, it's awesome. Um, and we actually, a person had asked me a great question the other day and they had asked, are you right outta school? And we actually all have at least 10 years experience of being in the field. Me personally, I've worked in the NICU, in the PICU, inpatient, outpatient, and in hospital settings. I've worked with children and adults, and I've worked in skilled nursing facilities. So I've really had a beautifully rounded career, which allows me to really help people in different areas of all walks of life.

So, um, as a speech pathologist, I usually tell people we work from the neck and up. You might hear, oh, speech therapy. And people will think, well, there's nothing wrong with my speech. But we also work on cognitive skills, on swallowing, and skills on communication. So our field is really, really quite, quite large from voice to fluency and so on and so forth. So.

Yeah. And that's good to know. Cause like if, you know, even like feeding issues and things like that Right? You guys can do that too through mm-hmm. <affirmative> your platform.

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and I, I'm sure you've seen little ones with posture and positioning when you're working with them in the clinic.

Yeah. Yeah. And I love that you do; it's like, I'm gonna, is it telehealth? Am I gonna, am I saying that right or is it just you can online Yeah.

Um, people call it telehealth, teletherapy telepractice. So there are lots of different names. Um, I do te I do call it teletherapy v since it is therapy based, you can call it telehealth also. Um, but it's, it's pretty impressive, especially since we've been really comfortable using Zoom for a number of years. And then the world had to get really comfortable really fast mm-hmm. <affirmative> in, in a very short amount of time. So people would often be like, really speech therapy online. And now it doesn't seem as far fetch for people.

They can understand the concept given the fact of where the state of the world has been over the last number of years.

Yeah. And I really love that you can do it that way because sometimes it's so hard to get to these services. I, I mean, I'm a therapist, and I work in a clinic, but it is, it's hard for parents.

And just to give people an idea of what time it is right now, I live on the East coast and it's seven o'clock at night. So, um, you know, to have therapy on your schedule to fit your lifestyle is so incredibly convenient. And you're right, people don't always have the ability to get to a clinic. Some might be 45 minutes away and you're looking at two and a half hours of your day gone for a 30-minute session just between traveling there, stopping for a snack, grabbing gas, getting all tied up wherever you may be in trafficking, coming home.

I, I did not love the pandemic <laugh>, but I love what came out of it for some things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, kind of like those teletherapy services mm-hmm. And things like that. That's, so it's, it's kind of funny, like as a physical therapist right? You know, people are always in a rush to have their kids walking like that's the middle of honor mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right. Their child is walking, it's 12 months, they're excited, but like I have to remind people that there is a window to normal development, you know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and what to expect. And you know, 12 to 15 months is totally normal for a child to start walking.

But for speech, I find it a little trickier to kind of know if your child's on track mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, someone's walking, you, you got that. But for speech, I feel like I even remember going, and I'm a therapist, I work with speech <laugh> therapist all the time, but I remember going to the doctor and being like, so how many words Okay. Is  uh oh a word and do and do signs count, so <laugh>.

Right. Completely. Completely. And, I love that you said it's, you know, the medal of honor, everybody waits for those first steps because it really is when people say my child's talking or my child's not talking, it really is the medal of honor. I would agree with that. Um, the way that, that people convey it. But really, you know, we see you and I know clinically we see signs of development long before that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, little ones, they're communicating with us as soon as they enter this world, they're communicating through their cries and their coos and they learn intentional communication.

That's why their cries are different. They learn to gain your attention by certain sounds, and that is communication. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And typically, and I love that you also pointed out that there's a window of development, you know, especially when you hear, oh, by one year you, you really hold your child to that to meet that marker. And if they're not, you know, alarms are going off, but it really is a window and each little one develops on their own.

And I know for at least gross motor skills; you see exactly like you said, the components, right? So if a child's not walking, but they have really good like components to get to walking, like they're pulling to stand and they're cruising and they're doing all these mm-hmm. <affirmative> wonderful movement patterns, then even if they're walking late, it, to me it's like not even a concern because no, they have all the components and they're just taking their time mm-hmm. <affirmative> and so we can all take a breath. Right.

Absolutely. I love that. That's beautifully said.

Yeah. Is that similar, would you say, for speech as well? Mm-hmm.

<Affirmative>? Absolutely. Especially, you know, and I think when, when people have concerns and, and it's completely appropriate and if anybody has a concern, I always, always encourage them to address it. If you have an inkling that you might be concerned, the worst thing that's going to happen is that you're going to get answers to questions. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's a great thing. And I don't know if you ever have these moments where you roll over at 2:00 AM in the morning and you have questions and you're like, oh my God, I need to speak to a professional.

And then you find out that you might not be able to speak to a professional for almost six months. That's a little distressing. So with better speech, what we're so proud to offer is that, uh, we have a 15 free minute consultation where you can speak with a speech-language pathologist, not a robot, not a kind of somebody who knows what they're talking about.

You can speak with an actual clinical professional about your concerns and then we can actually even set you up as early as the next day if you would like to explore more and work directly with a speech pathologist in your state. So that's an incredible thing with better speech. And when you have those concerns, it's really important that you do address them, just even to find out that it's completely normal, that their development is completely appropriate. And when we use our clinical skills, our observations, whether they be, you know, our formal assessments or our informal observations, it's, we are able to have that bird's eye view.

And we are also able to share with parents, this is what I'm looking for, this is what I'm noticing, this is the direction that I see them headed, and this is why I do have concerns, or I don't have concerns at this moment. And to even say, you know what, let's keep a close eye. Let's follow up in two months and tell me where you're at. And it might not always indicate treatment. Sometimes there is treatment and sometimes there isn't treatment. So it really just is a good idea to ensure that you work with a professional if you have concerns.

Okay. I love that you can call at 2:00 AM <laugh>,.

Not at 2:00 AM but the next business hour.

That's ok.

During those business hours, at the, at the very least, you can message us and we will get back to you at, at the business hour time. But you know, at least at 2:00 AM when you have concerns, you have somebody that you can talk to during the business day, that's really, really impressive considering other times you may call a clinic and they'll say, oh, well you might need to wait six months or early intervention. Okay, we'll put you on a three-month wait list to just be evaluated, not even treated. Yeah. And as a, and as you know, so we're board certified clinicians.

You're certified by through the physical therapy board. I'm certified through the Speech Language and Hearing Association. And with that, that implies to, for your listeners, this implies that we have completed our formal education and we have passed our appropriate assessments, and then we can be licensed in different states. So for me, I live in Pennsylvania, but I am licensed in five states. So that allows me the opportunity to work with people in Colorado to.

Work with people.

In South Carolina. And that I would've never been able to work with before had I only worked in one place. Yeah. So the fact that we can use technology and really empower ourselves to use it for good is absolutely incredible.

Yeah. And I love the fact that you know, you don't have a wait list because the wait list is long and, and people are concerned, especially with like infants mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they, they really, um, change from month to month. Right. So very much.

So.

Right. You, you know, what other, if it's a 18-month-old is gonna look very different by the time they're two. So every month is important. And, that does bring me to what age would you recommend? Um, you know, I, when I'm treating kiddos, a lot of times I, I kind of find that people are like, oh, wait till two to get an assessment. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what's your, what is your thoughts on like, age of, for language issues?

Possibly?

For me, I would, and because people are so different and their development is so different, I would say if you have concerns, reach out to a professional mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that is that, and I tend to be more cautious and, and that has served me <laugh> well cuz I'd rather find out nothing's wrong mm-hmm. <affirmative> than have not followed my instincts and found out six months later that I should have listened to my instincts six months earlier. So when it comes to that, if you feel like your child is having a delay, so even if we talk a little bit about delays, let's, let's say we have, uh, two, two years old.

So they're 24 months, and they're, they're babbling, but they're not saying formal words such as, hi mom, dad. Okay. So now they're 24 months, usually by 24 months. A general rule of thumb is two words, two years old.

So they should be making two-word combinations, such as more, please. Thank you. Um, their attempts want more. Where's daddy, you know, asking combinations in that two word, two-word components. If your little one isn't at that point, I would definitely say to reach out to a professional; there may be an expressive language delay. So specifically, expressive language, everything that I'm doing is the expressive part of the language.

There's actually two parts, though. We also have the receptive part of language, our ability to understand and to follow directions and to answer and really hear, and understand a question and then be able to express the answer. So there's a lot going on. So if your little one isn't following commands, if they're not answering simple questions such as show me the fish, and they can't point out the fish, they may be having receptive language difficulties at that point.

And that is another reason that you wanna reach out to a professional because you should be able to have this back and forth, this interaction and this communication of they, they're looking at you, they're engaged, they're listening to you, and you want to be able to see that. And you can see that when you call their name, they'll turn to you when you ask them to, oh, let's go find your bear. They're gonna go find their bear with you. And they're going to show that communication that you are for sure confident that that little person knows that you're talking to them and that you want to communicate with them, whether it be follow a direction of some sort, whatever the case may be.

That's an indicator of intact language, but it's also an indicator that there may not be intact, receptive language skills and another reason why you'd want to reach out to a professional. Some people they'll, they'll kind of brush it off, oh, they're just stubborn. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> usually, they might not be stubborn. Their right. Really may be a difficulty understanding what they're being asked.

Yeah, that's interesting. I like the way you're also explaining like personality, like, oh, they're stubborn, but maybe there is like, why are they stubborn, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> or, you know, opposite to a child that's shy. Could that also be a disguise for maybe being able to express themselves as well?

Absolutely. That's, that's a great point. Especially when you start to see three, four years old, there is, you know, that turn inward when they meet new people that that can be some something they're shy to, but if they're having difficulty communicating, they may socially isolate and really turn away from interaction because they know they're having difficulty communicating and it's frustrating for them and they don't wanna be in those situations. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So they'll go into protective mode, and they'll turn away.

Yeah. Yeah. No, I love that other perspective cuz sometimes we just kind of judge the situation, like pushing the shy kid <laugh> mm-hmm. <laugh> to go interact, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> when maybe there's something more underlying that. And then that also brings me to some behavior, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like tantrums. Mm-hmm. And things like that. Maybe sometimes behavior could also be something that's hiding something more like a language issue, not being able to express something, you know, and the only way to express it could be a tantrum, right?

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Absolutely. And we see that a lot, especially because it's frustrating for them not to communicate. It's frustrating for them not to be heard. And it's very frustrating for them to want to tell you something and not be able to, so we definitely see behaviors in, in little ones, and you know, sometimes you may brush it off as, oh, they're throwing a tantrum, well what else might it be? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, to really look into that more and to notice how frequent they are, what's the situation like, because those are red flags.

They're not; children are not typically intentionally stubborn and not wanting to communicate, not wanting to participate. There may be something else going on if they're not typically developing.

Yeah, yeah. Oh, good point. Good point. So do you have some tips or things that you recommend for parents to just be doing at home to help improve speech and language skills?

Oh, absolutely. <laugh> of, of course, of course, I do. That's why you're here. Usually, when I find out people are expecting, I tell them right off the bat, start talking because your little one can absolutely hear you when they're in the womb. And it's really important that they understand that they get familiar with your voice. So once that blessed day occurs, and they're here, and they're finally in your arms, you want to keep talking to them. So we are actually born with the ability to understand language.

That being said, we need to have language input in order to build that part of our brain. And little ones, they come into the world not knowing a single thing. And it's our job as parents and guardians and caregivers to explain this entire world to them and to really help them understand that they're here and what things, then the things around them have meaning and how to interact in their environment.

So when they're talking, some people will call it sportscasting, some people will call it narrating. But I encourage people to really talk about what you're doing all the time. And you may feel like you're talking to yourself, but what you're doing is you're narrating for them. So I'm gonna pick you up out of the crib, I'm gonna rock you and we're gonna stay here nice and softly as you're talking to them. You're not, not only using your words, you're using your tone, you're using your energy, you're using your emotion, you're also talking to them, especially when you hold them in your arms and your face to face.

You're communicating with your face. So there's a number of research at a number of research articles out there that say anywhere from 70% or more is nonverbal communication. That's a lot of communication going on. So it's really important that when we're talking with our kids, that we're face-to-face with them, that we're using the appropriate tones because they can pick up on the change in our tones very, very early.

So they understand when we're happy, and then they understand when we're not so happy. And it's because we communicate so much with our voice, but with the tone and with the intonation and the rate and the speed of, our words coming out. So there's a lot going on that we really don't break down. We break down the ABCs, and we break down nursery rhymes. But this other communication, these other components are things that we naturally understand is how our brain develops. And if they're not naturally being understood, then it's important that we go back and we help children understand our facial expressions and what they mean, or our tone of voice and what it means.

Well, and then this is, I mean, in my head it is just bringing up the whole masking and pandemic like mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I thought about that the whole time when we were kind of in, you know, full-on garb. We, there was a point when we were in the clinic, cuz we were in there pretty early on mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, of wearing masks and shields and gowns. Oh yeah. We were garbed up. I think we had gloves. I mean, we had everything on us as we treated mm-hmm. <affirmative> and we were treating babies. So, what do you think came out of that for kids?

When you say and listen to you say all this,

We see, a significant delight in social communication and appropriate skills and skills that are, are supposed to have developed, and they're not. So it's really important that we are going back and making sure that these children are understanding our social cues, our communication, and our facial expressions. When you take away half of your face, you're missing a ton of information. And it's really, really important that they're able to see faces because we do communicate, especially in America; we look at each other in the eye, and we look at each other when we're talking and all this other, our senses are picking up this other information that's going on.

So now they're missing pieces of body language now they're missing pieces of how we shape our mouth and how we fur our brow because we were under so much material that limited our communication so they could hear us, but they couldn't hear all of us.

And it is showing up as quite a delay. And, um, we're, we're seeing a lot of children needing speech therapy because they also missed, you know, parents were, were really put in, in guardian caregivers. Everyone was, were put in a completely new situation, and their little minds and bodies did not stop just because the world stopped. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> their minds and bodies kept developing. And it was really important that their language kept developing. And if they were missing social interaction from other people, if they were missing hearing conversations, it's really, really important that they get these experiences.

So, for example, if you had, in 2019, if you had you, with you, your two-year old was going to the grocery store with you, your two-year-old was going to the playground whether it was with you or other people, your two-year-old was hearing other people in the home.

Whether it was your next-door neighbor coming over to ask for a cup of sugar or you were on the phone literally talking with other people. They were hearing so much more. And the world then went silent. And it was a very, very big shift. And parents were pulled in so many different directions and didn't have the ability to really give their children all the social interaction that they really, really do need, that they get from daycare, that they get from going to grandparents' homes and going to friends' homes. They didn't have that opportunity, and therefore they missed a ton of opportunities for general communication and social interaction.

Are you finding that they are ca like these kids are catching up through just being now social and interacting? Or do they actually need services like yours to be catching up?

Some are benefiting greatly from services. Others are finding support, in their general areas. So for example, awareness in schools, teachers are really, really aware of this because they know what students were typically developing. Like, and now they're seeing what their students are like now and just through general observations. So they're actually going to greater lengths to have that social interaction in class and to let them know that they can speak up. And, and you know, especially when you have a mask on and you don't know what's going on, you learn I shouldn't talk, and you learn mm, something's wrong, and you kind of go into this panic mode.

And it's really important as humans that we come out of this mode almost like a, a post-traumatic experience because things changed so quickly and changed for a very extended period of time.

And it made a difference in our development and in our social interaction. So we're seeing children even five, six years old, that were in a mask for at ages three and four, not being able to have that conversation in class and not talking about their favorite TV shows and that their favorite foods and trade snacks. And that is a big deal. So we're doing, I I think everybody's kind of on high alert to that work with children of noticing these delays, noticing their concerns and addressing them as quickly as possible.

Whether they're making referrals to speech therapy or their other support classes that are going on and really working to make the effort of ensuring communication. People kind of take it for granted because especially, you know, when I was younger, I didn't go to speech therapy until I was about 12 years old at that point. But my social communication, I was naturally a friendly child. I didn't, that wasn't a concern for my parents. And now this is a very big concern for a lot of people, and we are social creatures, to begin with.

It is absolutely vital that we know how to communicate with each.

Other. Uh, it's interesting, though. I remember looking at a child one day when I was, I treat a lot of infants and I was looking at this baby one day, and I had my whole Garbo <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and she was looking at me, you know, her eyes like, I felt like, will this generation that had to, you know, grow up in this, have like other skills that maybe we didn't have because we didn't learn that way. And I almost wonder visually, are they able to look at somebody's eyes and, I don't know, get different emotions or something else because that's all that they would see of me.

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you know. Yeah. And I, yeah. I wonder how that affects them later.

On. Yeah. Very interesting. I was, um, I was in the nursing home for a period of time during, during 2020, and it was very, very difficult for people with dementia because now everybody looked exactly the.

Same. Oh, yes.

And their routines, they couldn't go to meals. They were all, you know, safely confined to their rooms, but they missed a lot of social interaction. And we actually saw their progressive diseases rapidly pick up speed because we took away routines, we took away things that were familiar. We took away the families, they couldn't come into the building, for safety reasons, but because those were removed and yes, it was for the safety, but because they were removed, it massively impacted people.

So what other recommendations do you have for maybe parents at home, especially those who have these younger kids that were developing these important skills mm-hmm. <affirmative> at this time to help maybe catch them up?

Definitely, whenever you're with your little one, whatever age they are, talk with them face to face. And let's say you have an eight-year-old at home; it's really important to talk with them face to face, but also ask them questions about their day. And, a lot of the time when I see teenagers, they'll say, I don't know, what did you watch on tv? <laugh>? I don't know. What'd you watch on TikTok? I don't know. And the, the component is, there is a part, they might not be in the mood to talk, which is perfectly fine, but to not know all the time is a red flag.

Even if you're talking about their favorite subjects like Pokemon or TikTok videos. Well, what funny things did you see? What made you laugh today? And asking those open-ended questions to your eight-year-old, to your nine-year-old. Let's read a story together and incur, go back and forth when you're reading Harry Potter books or whatever, whatever books that may be on the shelf.

And ask them about the story. What do you think the character's thinking? What do you think the character might do next? What did, oh, what did we read last night? I completely forgot. And really having that back-and-forth conversation to see if they can recall the information. But also do they have the vocabulary to explain to you that information and their stories should follow a sequence. And if you're noticing that these stories are kind of hopping around, do do, do, do, do, do, that's a red flag.

Because the stories should have appropriate sequence and structure. So if you ask your little one and say they're eight, or nine years old, how do you make a peanut butter sandwich? They probably know how to make a peanut butter sandwich. And they can give you the steps of, okay, well, I'm gonna go to the cabinet. I'm gonna open the cabinet, gonna get out the bread.

I'm gonna o take out two slices and walk you through that. Or like, how do you make a sundae? How should we make a sundae? And having them sequence through things like that to really help build their cognitive skills of sequenced steps. But also that they have the vocabulary to explain to you what they're doing and why they're doing it and what fun things might, might else come up in that storytelling component that they're sharing with you. Feeling great ways to, to build not only connection but to ensure that they are understanding information and they're able to express information even when you go, oh, hey, how was your day at school?

What did you do? Tell me about your teacher. And really work to listen to them, but to also engage with them,.

Which sometimes older kids, you know, that they'll do the fine. It was fun. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know. But I like the idea of asking more questions. I keep hearing you say like, this is a red flag or this is a red flag. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do you have like, you know, your five big red flags that if they're not doing this, we should have a consult?

That's a great question. It would depend on age. Yeah. So things such as, can they follow directions depending on the age one step directions? Can we follow? Can we find our shoes? Okay. Um, they're six years old. What I want you to do is go upstairs, change your pajamas, brush your teeth, wash your face, grab a book, get in bed and wait for me. And that they should be able to do so following directions at the age-appropriate component is really important. Being able to answer w h questions.

What, where, when, who, again, depending on the age, those are all indicators that they're understanding information when it comes to expressive language, how is their grammatical structure of the sentence? Your two-year-old is going to be speaking two-word combinations, but your six-year-old should be able to form grammatically appropriate sentences. And then also with the appropriate tenses.

So understanding when there should be the plurals involved or the appropriate past tense is involved and adding in those adjectives and adverbs, that's important as they get older, 6, 7, 8, they should be in that. Those language components should be in their vocabulary. So those are indicators. If, uh, if you're translating for your child a lot, that's definitely an indicator that you might want to seek speech therapy. Because by the time that your little one is about four years old, others should have very little difficulty understanding them.

And you might hear some r difficulties at that point. But by four, an unfamiliar listener should be able to understand your child.

Hmm. And that's a good point. I do wanna put a plug in for articulation because <laugh> my son at a, you know, very young age, so cute. I mean, so cute. But he sounded like he was from Boston, <laugh>, there were no Rs, it was like they were just gone or something. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So park the car, whatever, you know, like he was, sounded like he was from Boston. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. We were not from Boston <laugh>. And I was thinking, well, when he's older, maybe he can go to college there and he'll be okay.

<Laugh>. But I thought about it and so at a young age, we took him in, I said, yeah, I don't, I, you know, it's adorable, but I think, could we work on our ticks? So he was fine mm-hmm. <affirmative> everything else, you know, it was just like this r uh, was hard for him to say for whatever reason mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

But I don't think parents think about that. Like, you can work on those things because those things can be made fun of later on. Like if he was in middle school or ele even elementary school, like that could have been something that would've made him feel not very confident. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and even though it was simple at ae understood all the things, he didn't have the red flags. It was literally just articulation and just like within, you know, a few months it was gone and mm-hmm. <affirmative> and fine. So I do wanna put a plug for that that like, even those little things that can affect them, it's, it's, you can work on too.

Absolutely. And thank you so much for pointing that out. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, especially with, are they, it's a what we would consider a later developing sound. So sometimes, there's a mixed information. It says somewhere between six and eight years old that they should have it typically by the six, it should be emerging. Now ours really hard because if we can't show physically, like if I do the, the buff sound, it's right on my lips. You can see the letter B, the letter B and the B with my lips coming together. So it's really easy to see or r the letter R you can't see it, and your mouth is closed pretty tightly.

So we do go to extra lengths to show children how to actually and effectively make this sound. And there are actually over 30 combinations in our language for this. Her sound. It's not just the letter R there's lots of different ways that we're saying it, such as Sure. Her bear bar, there's so many different ways that we're using the sound, so that's why it tends to be a little bit trickier. But I love that you, you pointed it out and that it can absolutely be addressed because middle school's hard enough, <laugh>.

Hard enough. It.

Really is.

Well, and then my thought was too, it could affect, we, he went right before kindergarten, so maybe we were a little early, but you know, it could affect how he's a learning to spell because it could actually sound the word out. You know, like that's how they taught them at the time they were going and you know, if he can't sound it out correctly, then he can't also spell it correctly.

<Laugh> completely. You're, you're, you're absolutely right about that. Thank you for pointing that out. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and the fact that he was so little. He, there are children who are what we refer to as stimuli for it, where they can do it if we ask them to. And it's just simply a redirection of the pattern. They just have one pattern, and now we're switching it for another pattern.

Yeah. It was very helpful and he loved it. So there you go.

<Laugh> awesome.

And now, and now he doesn't have to go to college in.

Boston. In Boston. <laugh>.

Of his life. It'll be great. Who knows? Maybe you'll end up there and have the same accent. That would be very funny. <laugh>.

That's so funny. I've come full circle for that one.

Full circle. Oh my goodness. So what would you say is like, kind of the number one concern that you, that parents have?

Um, their number one concern is that they think they did something wrong. And when I work with parents, the first thing I tell them is, you did nothing wrong. It's, it's okay. This is simply where we are. Nobody's wrong, nobody's bad, nobody's dumb, nobody's anything. This is simply where we are and this is simply where we want to go next.

I feel like that happens to, for me too, when parents come, you know, they, they feel guilty. Like if they didn't notice that their child's, you know, neck was a little tight or they have flatness on their head or something like that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, they feel really guilty. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And once again, they're like, oh, I should have come earlier or should have done this. And I'm like, you did perfect. You're here. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you are here right now. And that's when we're gonna work on that. Yeah, exactly. I think it's, it's, yeah, we gotta stop blaming ourselves, <laugh>. Cause I have to say, now I have teens and they have a lot of ownership in what's, what's going on in their life.

So anyway, what else would you like parents.

To know? In, in my, the thing that I love to stress to people is if you have questions or concerns, they're appropriate. So reach out to professionals and ask your questions. And you know, there's, there's always that, oh, I'm asking a stupid question. It's like, no, you're not, you're not supposed to know information. Why would you, for me, I went to school, I studied this information, it's my responsibility ethically, and morally, and it's also my job to know the information.

If you went to school for finances, why would you know anything about language development? So by all means, ask questions or, you know, even even if, um, you know, and I, and there, there's some people that are, are extremely young and I see guardians that are, are 18 years old, 19 years old with little ones, and they're not sure what to expect. And I, I love to share as much as possible with them because it's only going to help people.

It, the, the fact that we can have the ability to share information. And a lot of the time people will think that they're stupid, and it's like, no, not at all. Not even a little bit. You just don't know what you don't know. And that's why thank goodness you're not alone on the planet and that there are other people here to support you and that have been in your shoes before or somewhere similar and can offer you guidance and offer you input and service, and knowledge. And it is truly a special thing when you understand that people want to share knowledge, people want to share information with you.

And it's not at, in a, in a, you don't know any better way. It's in a, you just don't know because you didn't need to know before and now we need to know. So let's talk about it. So that, that's usually the, the point that I, I'd love to share with people is because it's so important just to keep sharing information.

Yeah. Just keep sharing information and one, and just to say that exactly what you're saying is that just you can go get checked. Like I'm a big ruler outer, you know, like <laugh>. If you're thinking that there could be an issue or you're just concerned mm-hmm <affirmative> great. Go get evaluated, go get checked, go make a call. The worst thing that can happen is actually the best thing is that your child doesn't need it and they're totally fine. Totally. Right. So mm-hmm. <affirmative>, no harm, no foul. And then you just have more resources.

So Completely. Yes. Yeah, completely. So with that, listeners find you,

You are welcome to visit us@betterspeech.com we are on all the social media platforms, and I'm sure they'll be in the show notes. So like, subscribe, comment, um, you know, especially if you have questions, leave comments, and we will do our very best to answer them in whatever platform you have asked those. But you're also welcome to reach out to us. We offer that free 15-minute consultation and we work with people session by session or month by month, and we really meet you where you are. It's because our platform is so effectively affordable and convenient that we are able to provide the care that we do, but also right from the comfort of your own home, which is so important because we are all running around these days.

And if we can lighten somebody's load a little bit by, by being there in your home on your schedule, that's a great thing and should be celebrated.

It really opens up the world to us. So that's really cool. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Well, thank you for sharing your knowledge and just talking with me about talking and speech development. I really appreciate all that you're doing for families and I love your platform that you're.

On. Thank you so much for having me, Lisa. It was great talking with you.

Thank you for listening to this episode. Lenora shared so many great ways to help our child's development and how to encourage the important milestones that may have been missed during the height of the pandemic. If you have any concerns about your child's language development, consult your pediatrician and check out the Better Speech website@betterspeech.com.





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Lenora Edwards

SLP/CKO

Lenora Edwards is a ASHA Board Certified Speech Language Pathologist and Chief Knowledge Officer with Better Speech. Since obtaining her CCC’s in 2010, she has worked with individuals of all ages from little ones who are learning to understand and express themselves to adults who want to improve their speaking skills and become a more fluent and effective communicator.

Lenora loves to teach and educate others so if you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Better Speech is an online speech therapy company that has been providing professional, affordable and convenient speech therapy services for more than a decade.

All the Speech Language Pathologists with Better Speech are Board Certified and State Licensed with more than 10 years experience each which allows them to provide outstanding online speech therapy services nationwide and internationally.

At BetterSpeech.com , we are experts at helping people communicate in the most efficient and affordable way possible!