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Communication in a World of Technology

Pediatric Rehab Patient with Liz

THREE CHEERS FOR TECHNOLOGY!!!! Mobile devices, computers, phones, and tablets to name a few, have supported communication and learning during this extremely chaotic time. Without technology, our children wouldn’t be able to attend school, participate in dance or music classes, receive different types of virtual therapy and most importantly remain connected to family members and friends.

Various applications and programming support the development of expressive and receptive language development. Use of applications can promote storytelling, articulation, comprehension of basic and advanced concepts and vocabulary. Such apps are great tools that help parents bring their lesson plans home. In addition, most children are motivated to practice skills development through such interfaces. The American Speech and Hearing Association website even offers a complete list of resources to support academic and social language development.

Technology is essential, especially now, but let’s not forget the importance of natural face to face interaction. With all this screen time, it is beneficial to discuss some strategies to maximize this face to face interaction during naturally occurring routines and activities.

Routines or commonly experienced activities that occur frequently within a day and throughout the week are great opportunities for children to practice a variety of skills including identification, following directions, and use of appropriate vocabulary to label, comment and interact with the environment. Because these activities are experienced frequently, they support a child’s understanding of what is to be anticipated. This understanding helps children to practice routine language commonly encountered during each activity. Some great ways to build understanding and expression include having the child find an item, labeling it and talking about what it is and what it’s used for. This can be done during activities including brushing your teeth, making breakfast, getting ready for the day, bath and playtime and during meals.

Talking and interacting face-to-face helps children learn to read facial expressions and interpret body language. These basic skills are essential for engaging with other children and adults, developing empathy, and building lasting, rewarding relationships.

While parents are taking on more roles with less of their village to help with their children it is important to not stress for worry if activities do not seem structured or planned. As you speak to your child throughout the day. Naturally occurring interactions, including hugs and kisses, all foster your child’s development. Sitting on the couch or floor and talking about their day, telling jokes, singing songs all have their place in supporting development. Try to meet your child at their level, limit external distractions and maintain eye contact.  By acknowledging, addressing and responding to your child’s remarks you help support their expressive language development. Share your thoughts and feelings and support your child to do the same.

So while the world is quickly changing our best advice is to keep talking during the day and use technology as a tool to educate and keep connections with those important people and activities.

Here are a few tips to keeping the role of technology in your life in balance:

  • Skype, Zoom, and Facetime, support natural communication as children can practice conversations with a partner they can see. I encourage use of such interfaces instead of using the phone. When using these interfaces, practice good conversational skills, take turns, comment and ask follow-up questions. And always use good grammar!!!
  • UNPLUGGING is critical given the amount of screen time that is taking place. Encourage your child to play without the T.V. or iPad on.
  • PLAY together as a family. Card and board games are great opportunity to interact as a family and help your child learn new skills and develop concept understanding.
  • READ a variety of books to promote knowledge. Books with colorful illustrations or pop-up books encourage attention and anticipation.

Reviewed on May 20, 2020

Topics: Featured, Pediatrics
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.