COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – To ease parents’ worry when it comes to masking young children, speech and language specialists have encouragement and tips for effective communication.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), there is no evidence that the use of face masks prevents or delays speech and language development.
When speaking with, Catherine Stubbs, the Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation at the Human Performance and Rehabilitation Center here in Columbus, she said she has not noticed any negative effects and the average number of patients that they see has not drastically increased.
Both Stubbs and ASHA encourage parents to focus on the time spent at home with children, where children and family members can get the face time that they need, unmasked. The ASHA encourages people to be intentional and dedicate time to converse with their children at home, away from screens.
Tips to better communicate with a child while wearing a face mask:
- Switch to masks with clear shields over the mouth
- Make sure you have the child’s attention before speaking
- Speak slowly and enunciate words
- Ask if what was said was understood, repeat words if necessary
For parents that are concerned about developmental delays, speech and language specialist, Allison Smith says, “trust your gut… be proactive and address this with your pediatrician.” They also want to remind parents that every child is different.
Smith said, “every kid is different, kids are little adults, we respond to things differently … that’s why we’re here to help individuals to be successful.”