201 Health - - Hearing And Speech Therapy -

New par­ents can take steps early that might help dodge a speech de­lay later, says Dr. Chris­tine Keeler, a speech pathol­o­gist at St. Joseph’s Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter. A big con­cern? Tablet tech­nol­ogy. “Par­ents of­ten think ed­u­ca­tional apps on an iPad or smart phone are ben­e­fi­cial,” Keller says, “but they need to be aware of the so­cial iso­la­tion they cre­ate.” • Start com­mu­ni­cat­ing with

your baby im­me­di­ately. • En­cour­age lit­er­acy. Read

to your chil­dren. • Model good lan­guage be­hav­iors. Speak slowly and in a re­laxed way. Make eye con­tact. • En­cour­age imag­i­na­tion. • Put away the elec­tronic babysit­ters. “A child who is over-fo­cused on a touch screen or TV screen is not learn­ing to com­mu­ni­cate,” Keeler says. “All of th­ese steps will help fa­cil­i­tate bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion and so­cial skills,” she says.

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