Speech therapy helps 5-year-old communicate with family
Gabriel counts off aloud with his fingers from one to five, something he could not do seven months ago.
For Gabriel Gomez, the world was a quiet place. Even with two sisters, one older and one younger, the 5-year-old from Yucaipa didn’t talk much to anybody.
“If he wanted something, he would just point to it,” says his mother, Aime. “It’s really frustrating as a mother when he couldn’t tell me what he wanted, especially his basic needs.”
Besides not talking, Gabriel often came down with ear infections—far too frequently for the liking of Ms. Gomez. As a nurse at Loma Linda University Medical Center’s acute care unit, she knew something was wrong and took her son to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
Through the audiology department Gabriel was diagnosed with hearing loss and referred to the pediatric ENT group at the Faculty Medical Offices and Mark Rowe, MD, chief of pediatric head and neck surgery. Dr. Rowe found that Gabriel had a lot of extra fluid in his ears, which was causing the frequent ear infections and his hearing loss. In May 2005 Gabriel had a surgery to drain the fluid, and Dr. Rowe referred him to the East Campus Outpatient Rehabilitation Center for speech therapy.
Since then, Gabriel has received spe
Gabriel Gomez, age 5, is pictured above with his speech therapists Gary Lucas and Adriana Guillen at the Outpatient Rehabilitation Center.
ech therapy twice a week from therapists Adriana Guillen and Gary Lucas. The two therapists help Gabriel through the developmental delay of his speech due to his hearing problem. Ms. Guillen, a bilingual therapist, works with Gabriel on his Spanish to strengthen his first language.
“The link between hearing and speaking is huge,” notes Ms. Guillen. “If you have a strong first language, you have a base for translating and understanding, both other languages and your culture. In that respect, speech therapy helps connect people on many levels.”
For Gabriel’s mother, speech therapy has provided a big relief.
“Now Gabriel can tell me if he’s cold or what he wants to eat. And he is a lot more friendly now.” Which is something his older sister appreciates a lot.Typical hearing and speech development
Loma Linda University Medical Center celebrated Better Hearing and Speech Month during May. The speech pathology department offers many different services to help with language delay in both English and Spanish.
This simple chart can help keep track of your child’s development. Just keep in mind that every child is unique and has an individual rate of development. The chart represents, on average, the age by which most children will accomplish the listed skills.
Children typically do not master all items in a category until they reach the upper age in each age range. Just because your child has not accomplished one skill within an age range does not mean the child has a disorder. However, if you have answered no to the majority of items in an age range, seek the advice of an American Speech-Language Hearing Association certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist.
Hearing/understanding (n) and talking (s)Birth to 3 months
n Startles to loud sounds
n Quiets or smiles when spoken to
n Seems to recognize your voice and quiets if crying
n Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to sound.
s Makes pleasure sounds (cooing or gooing)
s Cries differently for different needs
s Smiles when he/she sees you4 to 6 months
n Moves eyes in direction of sounds
n Responds to changes in tone of your voice
n Notices toys that make sounds
n Pays attention to music
s Babbling sounds more speech-like with many different sounds, including “p,” “b,” and “m”
s Vocalizes excitement and displeasure
s Makes gurgling sounds when left alone and when playing with you7 months to 1 year
n Enjoys games like “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”
n Turns and looks in direction of sounds
n Listens when spoken to
n Recognizes words for common items like “cup,” “shoe,” or “juice”
n Begins to respond to requests such as “Come here” or “Want more?”
s Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds such as “tata,” “upup,” or “bibibibi”
s Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention
s Imitates different speech sounds
s Has one or two words, such as “bye-bye,” “dada,” or “mama” although they may not be clear1 to 2 years
n Points to a few body parts when asked
n Follows simple commands and understands simple questions such as “Roll the ball,” “Kiss the baby,” or “Where’s your shoe?”
n Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes.
n Points to pictures in a book when named
s Says more words every month
s Uses some 1-to-2-word questions such as “Where kitty?” “Go bye-bye?” or “What’s that?”
s Puts two words together like “more cookie,” “no juice,” or “mommy book”
s Uses many different consonant sounds of the beginning of words2 to 3 years
n Understands differences in meaning: “go/stop,” “in/on,” “big/little,” or “up/down”
n Follows two requests such as “Get the book and put it on the table”
s Has a word for almost everything
s Uses 2-to-3-word “sentences” to talk about and ask for things
s Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time
s Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them3 to 4 years
n Hears you when call from another room
n Hears television or radio at the same volume as other family members
n Answers simple “who,” “what,” “where,” and “why” questions
s Talks about activities at school or at friends’ homes
s People outside family usually understand your child’s speech
s Uses a lot of sentences that have four or more words
s Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words4 to 5 years
n Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it
n Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school
s Voice sounds clear like other children’s
s Uses sentences that give lots of details—e.g. “I like to read my books”
s Tells stories that stick to topic
s Communicates easily with other children and adults
s Says most sounds correctly except a few like l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, th
s Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family
Source: “How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?
” brochure, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
By Preston Smith