Communication enables us to connect with others and learn about our world. When communication breaks down, it can affect our entire lives, resulting in anxiety and frustration and interfering with social relationships.
Here are some ideas about how to help yourself, or someone else, with a communication difficulty.
1. Know the early signs of a speech, language, hearing or swallowing problem.
Be aware of early signs of possible problems or disorders in yourself and your family – whether children or adults. Use Identify the Signs to find out more or Find a Professional if you are concerned.
2. Get professional help.
If someone you know has a speech, language, hearing or swallowing problem, don’t wait. Get professional help as soon as possible.
If you think your child has a speech, language, or hearing difficulty, ask for an assessment. While we continue to learn on an on-going basis, the first 3 years of life are the most important in building our development.
Speech-language pathologists and audiologists recommend assessing and monitoring progress with you, rather than take a “wait and see” approach.
3. Read our Disorders section for information on the different types of communication problems and how a speech-language pathologist or audiologist can help.
4. Protect your hearing: avoid noise-induced hearing loss.
Take care of your hearing. Turn down the noise levels. Wear earplugs at concerts, airshows, sporting events and at work where appropriate. Worksafe BC provides further information about how your hearing can be damaged.
5. Follow through on any treatment suggestions made by the speech-language pathologist or audiologist.
If you or your child has been encouraged to engage in speech or language home activities, it’s important to practice throughout the day to strengthen brain connections which help to improve communication skills.
If you have been referred for follow-up appointments with your speech- language pathologist or audiologist, be sure to keep them.
6. Share your story.
May is Speech and Hearing Month in Canada. Consider telling your family’s story to the local newspaper about how an SLP or audiologist has helped you. You may be an inspiration to other people dealing with communication difficulties. Contact us for further information.
7. Spread the word.
Tell other people about your experience and raise awareness of the importance of speech, language and hearing in daily life. Share our posters, website, and other resources to help others.