May is Better Speech and Hearing month! This is a special month for us as therapists who work towards increasing awareness about communication disorders. The theme this year is “Communication for All.” This really resonates with me, as these words are what made me want to be a Speech-Language Pathologist.
Think about your day. Think about each and every small way you communicate with others. It might just be a certain way you look at your friend, or a wave from your car to your neighbor, or an hour-long conversation with your mom and dad. We are constantly in communication with those around us and so many of us, myself included, take it for granted every day.
Impact of Communication Disorders
Communication disorders affect people across the lifespan. We work with individuals with both developmental and acquired conditions. Our goal is to give people tools they need to successfully communicate and participate in their daily roles, whether is be on the playground, participation in school, at dinner with their spouse, at a job, or in an emergency room.
It’s Not Just In The Words
Communication doesn’t just involve words made up of sounds we hear. Merriam Webster defines communication as a “process by which information is exchanged between individuals.” Exchanging information can be done verbally, through writing, with pictures, with signs, with body language, facial expressions, and even the tone of your voice.
To me, what makes giving someone the ability to improve communication so rewarding is that I’m giving someone tools to share with another person and to interact in this meaningful way. A lot of times, I see disappointment in parents when their children have not yet developed speech. Sometimes in people’s minds, this is the only way we can communicate.
But a child looking at me, smiling, and waiting for bubbles or a push on the swing, or using a picture to tell me what they want IS communication. They are with me and sharing a message about the environment we are in together.