Imagine that you are a kindergarten child and unable to speak. There are many young children who are able to understand language, but simply unable to verbally respond. In many cases, they have the words which they need, but the processing required to get the speech out is a struggle. Speech and language pathologists work with students on this in traditional ways. The problem is that these children need to be able to communicate within classrooms and beyond. They have things to say and if they can’t get it out in one way or another, it will show in socially unacceptable behaviors. This is detrimental to the child in many ways and may make them more distant from their peers.
Screen time is something that many parents and educators worry about. Kids need to lift their heads away from their tablets and other devices to be part of the real world. However, there are exceptions to these rules. There are times when electronic devices are needed and become an integral part of a child’s life and happiness. Thanks to technology, many children have been introduced to electronic devices that give them the voice they need.
When speech and language pathologists introduce children to electronic devices, it helps to empower them. Children who are often unable to communicate to their friends, teachers, and others in the community are finally able to be more independent. These tablets with special programs on them allow them to be freer not only in school, but at home and beyond. The key to their success is to be comfortable using the electronic devices in different environments. After they practice in therapy sessions, kids must take them out and about into other places. They are allowed to use them in the classroom, at home, in restaurants, and other locations where they go with family and friends. The communication technology gives them the power to do what they need and want with their own voice.
Speech and language departments need to look into devices and programs that will work with the needs of your individual students. Some schools may want someone who is trained in the field of speech pathology, augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) to expand the program. Look into this and grants that are available to help families to afford devices which may be life changing for their children who need a voice.