Articles by Day: July 30, 2022
How many times a day are you admonishing your child to please use their “inside voice”? As a Fort Myers speech therapist, I love it when kids are engaged and excited to participate in a conversation! That said, I also recognize that sometimes our little friends can get a bit TOO lively – and loud – for the situation.
The reality is all kids frequently yell, stomp, shriek, use screechy or whiny tones – and for all kinds of reasons.
Teaching kids how to control their volume – and practice using “inside voices” – is important because there are many real-life situations that require it.
Learning how and when to adjust voice volume is a life skill – one that may be particularly tough to grasp for kids with social communication deficits.
As a Fort Myers speech therapist, the goal isn’t just to teach kids how to communicate, but how to do so pragmatically, or in a way that is socially accepted and beneficial. That means teaching the “inside voice” (quieter) versus the “outside voice” (louder) is key.
Understanding Reasons Behind Voice Volume
The first step in addressing voice volume issues is understanding WHY kids are speaking loudly. Sometimes, they may feel they need to do so to get attention. They often don’t realize how loud they are actually being. And they also probably don’t understand that in certain spaces, they’re required to use a lower volume, and that failing to do so can have a negative impact on others in that space. (And for kids who are not neurotypical, it may take them more than a few reminders to remember.)
The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) reports that it’s only between ages 4 and 5 that kids start talking differently in different settings and with different people. As a Fort Myers speech therapist, I recognize it as a speech development milestone that ultimately paves the way for them to recognize almost instantly whether this a place is one where people are using “inside voices” or “outside voices.”
Talk About Voice Volume With Your Kids
The first step to helping your child know what noise level is expected in a given setting and/or with different people is to TALK about it. That means not only telling them what is expected, but also why.
Early intervention therapy for autism is crucial to optimal long-term outcomes for children on the spectrum. “Early intervention,” defined as a combination of speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nutrition/feeding therapy, and ABA therapy, should ideally begin before age 3 to be the most effective. Yet a new study found that more than 50 percent of children with autism do NOT get the critical early intervention that has been proven to lay the foundation for yielding the best sustained results.
Researchers at Rutgers University analyzed the early intervention participation of kids with autism in one state, and found less than half were receiving early intervention therapies before turning 3.
The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, revealed income and racial disparities unfortunately played a role in how likely children were to have access to early intervention. Study authors opined that the issue was likely worse in other states.
As our FOCUS Therapy Fort Myers team understands it, the researchers analyzed data from the New Jersey Autism Study, a monitoring system that was set up by the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, focusing on the records of some 23,000 kids. They identified approximately 4,000 8-year-olds diagnosed with autism. Of those, only 1,890 of them had participated in early intervention therapy services. This was true even though these services are required by federal law under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
To identify where the disparities were most prominent, the team analyzed information on wealth indicators (median household income, primarily) and discovered that kids who lived in areas with higher incomes were 80 percent more likely to have access to early intervention autism services than kids who lived in lower-income neighborhoods. They also learned that Black and Hispanic children were less likely to enroll in these services compared to their white counterparts.
Study authors stressed that understanding socioeconomic and cultural barriers to both early diagnosis and these essential therapy services are important components of helping improve education and access.