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Jan. 23, 2023

Episode 83: What Did You Just Say? with Lenora Edwards

In this podcast episode, DJ invited speech pathologist, Lenora Edwards, on the show to discuss speech and language, when that develops and how we can help our children communicate effectively. Listen in as they discuss how children start hearing and reacting to lingual sounds in vitro and how they process and express themselves… from the way they pronounce the words, how they are able to process what they hear, and then express what they are thinking.

Lenora Edwards is an ASHA Board Certified Speech Language Pathologist working with Better Speech. Since obtaining her CC’s in 2010, she has worked with individuals of all ages from little ones who are learning to understand and express themselves to adults who want to improve their speaking skills and become a more fluent and effective communicator. Lenora loves teaching and educating others. Better Speech is an online speech therapy company that has been remote since long before the pandemic. They are experts at helping people communicate in the most efficient and affordable way possible!

• [7:05] “That's how they start to shape this entire environment that they're in. So it's so important. If you're ever in doubt, keep talking to your children.”
• [18:51] Lenora explains when you might want to start seeing a speech pathologist.
• [33:32] Lenora discusses giving your child the opportunity to correct you.
• [37:08] Lenora shares how online speech therapy actually works well in our remote and online world… offering close-ups so one can really see the form the mouth is taking when pronouncing sounds and words.

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DJ Stutz  0:13  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA.

You're listening to Episode 83 of Imperfect Heroes: Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. And I'm your host, DJ Stutz. Lenora Edwards is a board certified speech language pathologist working with a company called Better Speech. She has worked with individuals of all ages from very little ones, who are just learning to understand and express themselves to adults who want to improve their speaking skills and become more fluent, and a more effective communicator. There's so much to learn. So let's get started.

So our sponsor today, as always, is Little Hearts Academy USA. And if you're listening to this podcast, you are already investing time in your family and working to raise independent, kind, and successful children. And you know that having someone to talk with about the best practices, and the challenges related to how children develop provides you with ideas that you can use today, tomorrow, next week, and as your children continue to grow. What if you could engage with a mother of five, who was an early childhood specialists with more than 20 years of classroom experience, committed to supporting you as you discover your parenting style, identify behavioral triggers, and learn about your children's emotional development with a focus on enhancing communication? Well, that's me. And I welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation with you. Click on my calendar link in the show notes to book a free 50 minute call so I can learn more about your concerns and goals, and share recommendations about how to create a home environment where you and your children can strengthen your relationships, and celebrate happiness and peace. 

You know, both of my boys had stutters through about the third grade. And it was a huge worry for me, thank heavens for the speech therapists that were at their school and were able to help me and them work through it. In my work with teaching little ones. I have had dozens of kiddos who have had speech issues for some kids, it's the way they pronounce the words. But for others, it's the way they are able to process what they hear, and then express what they are thinking. So there's a lot of different points of view as you're working on speech with little kids. Well, Lenora has made a career of helping both young and old improve their abilities to communicate effectively. And in this episode, we are talking about the earliest beginnings of language and surprise, surprise, children start hearing and reacting to lingual sounds in vitro while they're still in the belly. So let's listen in. 

Hey, everyone, thanks so much for deciding to spend the next few minutes with us here at Imperfect Heroes podcast. And I have an amazing guest today. And she's a specialist and we're talking about speech and language, how that develops how we can help our kids. So let's welcome Lenora Edwards and gonna tell us a little bit about what you going on and what you do.

Lenora Edwards  4:00  
Hi DJ. Thank you so much for having me, it is an absolute delight to talk with you again. I am a speech language pathologist with Better Speech. And what we do is we help people all over the world communicate effectively in the most affordable and easy way possible. We are an online speech therapy services company.

DJ Stutz  4:22  
I am so encouraged by that. And I love the way that you guys are using virtual things because then you're not packing up your kids, you're not driving them across town. And that also keeps costs down too. So that is such a good thing. So we'll let's talk about our earliest little kiddos. So we know actually that babies start to develop in language before they're even born within the womb. They start developing that and their ability to speak whether it's Russian, or English or Arabic, or all of that is beginning. Right? Absolutely. So what can we do? As we're getting started, what are some of the things we want to do?

Lenora Edwards  5:13  
I love that you want to start right at the beginning. That's so important. Because when children are in the womb, when they are babies, they are hearing language. And they are feeling a lot of the things that are going on within the mother and within the environment. So they're picking up different sounds, they're picking up different voices. And obviously, they don't know what they're picking up. But their little minds are picking up information. And then as they're born, and as they start to grow, what they're doing is they're constantly communicating, they're constantly working to piece their environment together. So whether they start to track you around the room with their eyes, they're following you. Or when they start to localize sound, they'll turn their head to voices, they'll start to turn their head to their name, that's them communicating as in a, I understand, I see you, I'm looking, and that's a great thing. That's all that social interaction. And when you start to hear them have that play of what they're doing is they're playing with their voice. And they're learning that they actually have the ability to communicate. Again, they're not indicating, hey, I would like to be fed right now. Or, Hey, I would like my diaper change. They're communicating in the language that is working for them and the language that their abilities are in place at that time. So it's really important that we talk a lot. And I love to tell this to parents and guardians and caregivers of little ones, keep talking to your little one, no matter what age they are, what you're actually doing is you as the caretaker as the provider, you are explaining their entire environment, their entire world. To them, you're giving meaning you're giving color, you're giving life to their world. And that's how they start to shape this entire environment that they're in. So it's so important. If you're ever in doubt, keep talking to your children. That is the very wise words of a speech pathologist that I started to work with when I was very young, or earlier in my career. And she said, When in doubt, just keep talking. And it is so completely true. Absolutely keep talking to your little ones.

DJ Stutz  7:30  
It really is an effective. I remember I have a little teeny baby, you know, just had a child and we're in the store. And she was probably three weeks, maybe four weeks old, brand new. And, oh, here's an apple when you're gonna love these. And as I'm talking and I remember someone looking at me like I'd lost my mind that I'm in the middle of the store to this like teeny weeny peanut. She was only six pounds when she was born. So she was so small. But that is something though, that I've really recommended with my coaching and with the parents of my students is just that keep talking. Talk about the things that you're getting at the store. Talk about oh, yeah, your diaper is so poopy and stinky and. And verbalize verbalize verbalize while you're playing with them while you're feeding them. Does that sound Oh, and one other thing too, was I always tell my parents to when they do that, you know, to copy it to repeat it. And you're getting the start actually have a conversation. So it's just a fun game back and forth. But I think that the baby's just just beginning to understand that, oh, this is how I communicate and get their attention in a positive manner. You know, because screaming does it to

Lenora Edwards  9:09  
have absolutely and what they're actually doing in that back and forth. That's such a beautiful example. They're understanding my turn your turn something you say something, they're building all these social things that we don't normally talk about, like you and I haven't said, Okay. Oh, it's your turn. Now it's my turn. We understand that because of the the information that was instilled very early on. And I love that you went through the grocery store talking that's such a great example. You've talking so what you're like I said, you're narrating for them their environment. You're talking about the colors on the cereal box. You're talking about the fruit that it has leaves and you're talking about if you're putting on pajamas, I love when you know anytime you're physically doing a task. So say for example, you're changing in your pajamas are changing into pajamas, this shirt comes off, it goes over your head, you're actually adding more depth because they're understanding the process. They're understanding the command that something comes off, something goes on, something goes over my head, something goes, my arm goes through the sleeve. And as you're elongating and emphasizing those words, you're adding more dimension. And what they're at will be able to do is to understand that information. When you put your arm through the sleeve, they understand that this is a through process. And they start to understand these other prepositions that we have in our, in our language, and you're also weaving their language together using is and our and their verbing. And all done, when you're done with something. And I love the vocal play, especially Nursery Rhymes are so important, because we're wired for that musical component, it's really, really helpful. And information quite literally locks in better, which is why we can say our ABCs and one, two threes, because there was a melodic tone to it, it just went in naturally, easily and effortlessly. And it's such a great thing to keep adding that dimension, even when you're out on a walk, take them out of the stroller, let them touch the tree, feel the roughness, you're describing the texture, you're describing the color, you're letting them feel you're quite literally submerging them in all of this information, all of this language. And that's how they construct their world. And they construct their language, it's absolutely incredible to to be there to support your little one in that language development.

DJ Stutz  11:39  
And isn't that such a fun thing to just watch happening, whether it was with my kids, or a niece or nephew, or nephew, which I have 70 of by the way, but and grandkids, the process is just so astronomically amazing to watch, and encouraging and then to be a part of it. It's such an honor, actually,

Lenora Edwards  12:05  
truly, and then you get to see them start to string it together. So when our little ones as we call this ha ha ha we call that vocal play. When they're playing with their vowels, then they'll start to connect some consonants like PB and M are typically the ones that first develop, because we see them there right on the lips. So when you're going mamama, you're literally bringing your lips together, you're making that sound that you're usually probably taking their hand and putting it on your mouth. They're feeling the vibration, and they're working to mimic you because they see you doing something and they're like, Oh, can I try that too? How do I do that, and they're how to do it, or when you go up, and you're bursting air onto their hand. And it's so phenomenal to see that they start to play it so then they'll go Mm hmm. And they're mimicking you when something's delicious. And then you got Ma Ma, or MA usually they'll get the one syllable, so the consonant and the vowel, then they'll eventually get to to my MA, which is consonant vowel. And they're building they're building that language, or sometimes little ones will sometimes get stuck on a certain sound. And they'll use the same Mayor attempt at a word for so many different things. It's just how their understanding they're working to process all the information that you're giving them all the language, you're giving them, all the fun things that you're doing, they're working to process it. And that's how it's coming out. That's how they're expressing it, that is building upon their language. And then as words start to emerge, then you'll start to see more words come along. So once you see more, you might then see more please and their attempt at more, please now you've gone from one word to two words, or by one word by by now you've got to to, and you're building and building and building. And that's how that vocabulary grows, because you're just constantly immersing them in all of this language. And they're working to build just like we can't run before we crawl. This is the same thing. You start very at the smallest sounds and you start to build up to those sentences in that conversation.

DJ Stutz  14:15  
Yeah, I think one of the fun games that I used to do with my kids, when they were just this really little wealth, and they maybe they were getting to about six months now. But you'd go up in their face. And they'd laugh that just lightens everybody's day. And then you're doing it but they're feeling the air pressure when you get up to them or you're making just silly silly sounds and THEY GIGGLE. That's not just fun, is it?

Lenora Edwards  14:48  
It's not it's also them playing with their language but also playing as in learning. Learning is fun. Learning can always be Find you can make it as fun as you want to make it. So they're also understanding, hey, I'm a part of this till I'm seen, I'm heard, people are watching me, that's a good thing. These are all human characteristics that we naturally are designed and wired for that we want to be seen. We want to be heard, we want to be a part of something, we want to be involved in our tribe, very, very primal wiring, of which, that's what's going on. And sometimes people will say, My child isn't talking. And it's, it's like, okay, well, we'll let's look at where we are. So we'll come to that in a moment. But there are so many other things. Words may come a little bit later for some little ones. What else are they doing? So look at the other signs? Are they looking at you? Are they engaged in what you're doing? Are they focused on watching you run around the room and playing with their toys? And are they interacting those the other things before? So it's not just about words, it's about the development of that child, as a speech language pathologist, we're looking at them as an overall, not just simply, can they follow a command? Like, can they wave hello? Or can they put this on the table? We're not just looking for simple stuff like that. We're looking for the whole development of that language.

DJ Stutz  16:16  
So if you're a parent, and you're at school or preschool, and you're gonna start hearing some of these terms, like expressive language and receptive, receptive, that's, so what does those mean expressive versus receptive?

Lenora Edwards  16:33  
There was a speech language pathologist, were looking at multiple levels of language, a lot of people think, Oh, well, there's nothing wrong with my speech, such as my articulation. So that articulation is a component of speech. But there is also language, how you stringing together those words, but there is also your ability to understand language. So very specifically, receptive language is your ability to understand language, such as following commands can your little one, follow the directions, go find your teddy bear, pull out your pajamas, pick up your fork, those are the commands that we're looking for, especially because they're very, very familiar. Also, from the understanding of, what else are they doing with their toys? How are they playing with them? Are they interacting, that's another component that we look for, to see if there's an integration of imagination, especially very little ones, they'll have their trains and their blocks, and they're all in one big space. And everything's a toy. That is very age appropriate. As we start to get older than we understand sorting, which is another part of language. I understand that my trains go with my trains, my blocks go with my blocks, I that I understand that my utensils stick in the kitchen, they stay over there. That's a sorting component. And then once we get into expressive language, how are they using the language, say, for example, they have a whole bunch of blocks in front of them. And they're saying, blah, blah, we're missing half the word for that we're missing block. But also, then we're missing the plural of blocks. So where are they in that language development. So if anybody ever had a concern about their language development, that's something that I absolutely love with better speech. We have the ability, thankfully, and in the amazing world that we live in today, people want answers, and they don't want to wait six months, and with better speech, and you can reach out to us immediately and start having a free 15 minute consultation with a speech language pathologist to address your concerns. Here with better speech, not only can you speak with a professional very, very quickly, if speech therapy services, you may want to say okay, let me at least explore it before I commit to any therapy. Because we're nationwide. And we're also international, we're able to match you with a speech therapist, and you get seen the next day here. We're on Zoom. We're online. We've been online long since before the pandemic, but we're able to be a part of the entire session with you. We get to talk to you as the parent or the Guardian and communicate with you. Where are your concerns? What do you see what we're seeing, we're all coming together to help other people. Because that's really what it's all about. We want people to be able to communicate effectively in the in the best possible way that is right for them. Yeah,

DJ Stutz  19:27  
that's so important. And I think all states but at least most states have some kind of program. I know in Colorado, it was called Child Find. And that is a government subsidized program where they can evaluate kids between 18 months and five. Once they're old enough for kindergarten, it's a different thing. But they can do evaluations. And it's at no cost, but you have a really long wait time to get into there. So you gotta weigh what path is the best for you? And how concerned you are about your child?

Lenora Edwards  20:08  
Absolutely, yeah, we see, Pennsylvania we have what we refer to as early intervention. So I think is probably lines as what you have. And, again, great programs, I might need to wait three to six months to get a speech pathologist to come work with my child and my home. And when they're that little, and especially if you have concerns, do as much as you can, right away. Because time is of the essence, time is so, so valuable, because their mind is going to continue to grow, their body is going to continue to grow, it's not going to stop and wait three to six months until the professional is able to get there where there's no pause on the growth development of the child, or anybody for that matter. Don't have the ability to pause. But we do have the ability to get help as soon as possible. And that's such a magnificent thing about better speech. And we also are incredibly affordable because we know how important these services are. And we want to be of service. That's the it's a win win beauty on both parts. By all means, if any parent out there does have questions, please reach out to us just visit better But we are there for you. And we are able to offer help. And that's the most important.

DJ Stutz  21:32  
So then, when do you think a parent should begin to worry about something like my child isn't speaking or verbalizing much in their 18 months or wet? Is there a cut off? Or is it just a general thing?

Lenora Edwards  21:52  
That's a great question. And I always encourage people to look at other guidelines, look at the guidelines that your pediatrician has provided to you. Or you can just do a quick Google search. How many words should my 18 month old have, because these aren't things that we always commit to memory. So thank goodness Google does exist today. If you have concerns, especially if you, I like the idea of you know, somebody doesn't always have siblings or other little ones around, so they don't know what they don't know. But if you're on the playground, and you see other little ones that are in the about physical size of your little one, see what else they're doing, observe, go on YouTube, what is my 18 month old supposed to be doing? And educate yourself, I am a huge supporter of looking for the information yourself and doing the research yourself. Because what I might hear from one person, I might not hear from nine other people. But if I do nine other resources of information, whether it's YouTube, whether it's a Google search, whether it's talking to my physician, I'm then getting more information that I can gather and then make a great decision, especially if your little one depending on that, let's say 18 months, and you're not hearing a lot of play, and you're not hearing a lot. And you're not seeing any command following of any sort. Those are definitely things that you want to reach out to a professional for the two year old gap, a lot of people will reach out to me and say like, Oh, they're not putting together sentences, two years old, is a huge, huge, huge window of time. And we see two year two year olds that are way above the standard deviation. And they are in such a phenomenal vocabulary, that you're just awestruck. And then we also see other ones that are still within the functional standard deviation of what we consider within normal means. And they're not producing nearly as much. Because that gap is so big, if such a variation. We do recommend having somebody see what your child is doing. But just for your own knowledge, your own education, because it is a really big window. But you also don't want to slip and miss something that you could have said why did I ignore my instincts? You know, three or four months ago, five months ago? Trust your instincts of Yeah, should look into this or maybe just look this up really quick. Those are if you're getting those feelings, you're getting them for a reason. So absolutely. As the caretaker to that little one, explore it. Look into looking at those guidelines. Absolutely.

DJ Stutz  24:37  
I am so glad that you're talking about that because it is really important and sometimes so my oldest daughter was very, very verbal, early on 18 months. She's having three four word sentences, you know, like, Ooh, you knew what she did, but I remember one time she was sitting in the middle of the kitchen and just jelly meet you meet you. I don't know what the heck meet you is. She's made it clear. It's something in the kitchen. And I'm pulling out bread, no. Peanut butter, cereal, anything, you know, finally I'm tired. It's time for nap. I made her a little sandwich. And I handed it to her. And she lit up and said, Me too. So sometimes our kids are developing language that's kind of their own. And I don't know why she decided meat you meant sandwich? Because it's something she choose? I don't know. But it was so glad to figure that out. Because the you know, fewer temper tantrums but so when kids had that adorable language of their own, I've brothers that are identical twins. They had their own language when they were little I'm 10 years older than their and that was adorable. How much do we say that is so cute. But it's not cute when they're 14 and can't say they're ours correctly. So where's the liner? Is there that line?

Lenora Edwards  26:18  
That's such a great question. We want their language to develop at two years old, we tend to follow them a lot in their language because it is so cute. If you start to see this to continue in age four or five, those would definitely be the time to stop. And to really just keep talking in a clearer way rather than supporting that language pattern that might not be the best. So specifically for Rs Rs are later developing sounds, usually seven or eight years old, they tend to come in eight is a little bit on the later side. But that'll typically come in and I actually, I had such a lovely parents say to me, for their 10 year old, they were having trouble with their hours. And they said, we really didn't. We know we need to work on it. But it's, it's the last of the last thing of our littlest child and somebody who you could understand that that's their child, that's their parent that you know, they're the parent, and that is hanging on to those last years of them being really, really little. So honest of them. And at the same time, I had said, I could understand that. And I know what you mean, you know, just to acknowledge it and hold that space for that person. Rather than being like, you should have corrected this like that's, that's not a very understanding thing to say. And it's certainly, I would say, but to just simply say, I understand, I know and move forward with it, because they know that they need to work on it, they know that the child also needs to work on it, because then you're starting to get into that social peer component of your might be bullying. And that's really tough, really tough as if middle school wasn't tough enough, or later elementary wasn't tough enough. Now we have to involve bullying. And that is something that we really want to do our best to support that child. And to avoid that circumstance, just do the best we can to not cross that bridge. So that is a great question of when do we stop it? I would say probably the the probably by four, four years old. But that might just also be my very personal opinion. Some people might have an earlier take on it. And some people might have a very later take on. Yeah, one thing you mentioned was the siblings, which is great, because you have that social interaction of them learning to share and you have a younger one, and an older sibling. So let's say you have a two year old and a five year old, the great thing is is that your five year old is a model for your two year old, they're looking at this other person, wow, they can do so much. And where your five year olds languages, they're going to be a model no matter what. So the other thing you want to watch out for is how is your five year old communicating. But also make sure your five year old is not communicating for your two year old. Because when other people especially other siblings, they want to help they want to be a part of it, which is great. But at the same time, we don't want to take that ability of language development away from that two year old and going because that they learn quick they'll go hmm, I don't need to communicate no problem for me. And they will not have their language progress because somebody else is always speaking for them. So it's something to really watch out for and to watch that balance of making sure everybody's getting heard. Everybody's getting seen.

DJ Stutz  29:51  
Yeah. And I've seen that happen both in family and in students and whatever. It's the older siblings he wants orange juice. And so maybe a thing is thank you for helping so much. Is that what you want? Joey? Do you want orange juice? And then go like you're verifying. And let Joey speak for themselves? At that point? Absolutely. That's you don't want to hurt that sibling like, I'm the oldest I didn't have. And it might have turned out very poorly. But I know that how much I enjoyed being with my little sister. She's seven years younger than I am. There's two boys in between. So there's five boys. And then just us two girls in the family. I loved taking care of her and doing things with her and for her, and we've never had an argument in our lives. Wow, ever. That when we were young, not when we were adults. She was just so adorable and fun. And I loved spoiling her. And we've just always gotten along really well. So isn't a fun?

Lenora Edwards  31:06  
That's amazing.

DJ Stutz  31:10  
I don't know why it happened that way. People be like, You didn't argue with your sister. No,

Lenora Edwards  31:17  
I had a I have a sister, thankfully. And she was three years older than me. And we were everywhere from each other's best friend to each other's mortal enemy. We were meant to we had a great time, though. And you know, still my best friend to this day, thankfully, that we have had such a strong connection because she is quite the chatterbox too. So you can imagine between the two of us in our house, that was a lot of talking.

DJ Stutz  31:44  
Yeah, yeah, for sure. And you'd say you want to do things in a way that support that relationship, and not get mad at the older child, but to work around it, so that we're really supporting that.

Lenora Edwards  31:58  
Absolutely. I love that you said to thank the other child. So today, in our example of this two year old and a five year old to thank the five year old, thank you so much for helping. And another great thing is you can all always include them in, you know, let's see, if he can tell us, you said he wanted orange juice, we're gonna offer him orange juice and apple juice with and and just wait and include the five year old and the euro, which one do you want. And that way, the five year olds included, you're now giving the two year old a choice and the opportunity to use their voice and the opportunity to make that decision and not to have the decision made for them. So there's so many things that you can make it functional. A lot of the time a children love to have power dishes decisions are being made for them all day, every day. So any opportunity that can present itself and allow them the choice allows them the power to choose is a great thing, even for little ones, when they want to make a decision. I will have a parent, I will encourage parents to say okay, do something as simple as Do you want this fork or this work? Do you want this cup? But this cup, we know that they're the same, but they get to choose? Are we jealous, or this set of pajamas? Because we're gonna change our clothes, no matter what the task is at hand. Which do you want to do? Or what should we do first, and giving them that opportunity to choose changes the game for them because they're like, I have power. And understanding that balance of power and that balance of making those decisions. And there's another one that I love to do, especially when you're working with reading words, or, you know, if you started to do sight words, or you've been practicing certain words along the way, giving them the opportunity to correct you. So let's say you had a toy train, and you're working, you're like, Oh, here's the car, and they go, No, that's not a car that's a train, you're having the opportunity to correct you because as the parent of a guardian, usually correcting them, but giving them that opportunity of being a little silly of being a little the one and control for them to correct you makes them feel so much better. And then we also know that they're also really paying attention. Sometimes I'll even say okay, well you know, when you're doing something around the kitchen, put the bowl on your head, do something silly. Notice, see if they'll stop and correct you if you're using if you're with a little one who isn't quite talking just yet and needs a little bit more coaxing. When you do something off their trail of sequence. Like, okay, I get in the tub, the water goes on, my toys come out that x y&z happens. This is a repeated pattern that they've now understood for a couple of years. So what you can start to do is offer those opportunities to talk. So put them in the tub and see what they weren't They will tell you, Oh, water, and you're gonna be pointing out the faucet, this and what you've now created is their opportunity to talk their opportunity to tell you what to do. And that is such a game changer because they really start to engage. And you'll start to see language start to pick up more and more, because you're literally giving them opportunities to talk, nobody's talking for them, you're waiting for them. And when you wait for them, they understand. Okay, we're on my time clock now, this is much better than being pushed and pushed on somebody else's time clock.

DJ Stutz  35:35  
Yeah. And I think having that routine or that scheduling, you know, and asking what comes next? What comes next. So they're learning a lot of things you're including language is a huge part of that. But they're also learning Oh, these are the expectations. This is what we do. This is how I handle this routine. There's a strategic, linear, you know, line of events that happens in order. And so you're teaching your child so many things, at one time, and language is part of I think, I can't think of anything that you're really teaching your child that would not include language.

Lenora Edwards  36:23  
Oh, yeah. It's your we're constantly communicating. There's two reasons that we have a mouse, the first is to eat. The second is to communicate, very true. And we're constantly communicating. And even before, you know, we have these other ways of communicating. And this is where, you know, when we when we do get into speech therapy, and depending on the state that you're in, a lot of the states are still behind masks. So when you go into clinic, and let's say you're working on articulation, myself as this, as the speech language pathologist in a clinic, I need to wear a mask, you as the client coming into the clinic need to wear a mask, you're missing a lot of language, you're missing a lot of input, because we communicate with our face. And as we're trying to show you what sound to do, our mouth is quite literally covered. And your mouth is quite literally covered. And that makes it very difficult and very frustrating for little ones, because they're trying and a lot of children, they're trying so hard, they're trying so hard. And it becomes frustrating, because they're not able to clearly produce the it's already a difficult thing for them. And they're trying to participate in, follow your instructions. And now we take a cue a really important cue of look at my mouth, watch what I'm doing, and really trying to draw their attention in their awareness to their mouth. So with better speech, the fact that we are online, we are right there with you live in the moment. But we're also up close to the camera, we're showing them what we're doing. We all have additional flashlights to help so that they can see inside our mouth. And you know, thank goodness cell phones are so easily accessible because everybody and we're able to say, Okay, come really close to the camera. What are you doing, show me how you're doing it. And we're able to show them more effectively than what we were able to, you know, even right now, in the middle of a pandemic, still with a mouse covered. And to add to that, with a mass covered, you're missing a lot of facial information, we eat so much with our facial expressions, that even with a mask covering half of our face, were missing a lot because we use, we scrunch our nose, we push our lips, we do a lot with our mouth. And you're missing this information. And it's very important social pragmatic information. So that's another great thing of having online speech therapy services. Because you don't miss that it's there for you. And, though so important, especially for the little ones, at the at the height of it, when people were wearing masks in stores, you're now trying to tell your child what something is in the store, and you're trying to talk to them and now read them and all mom is here. She's taking care of you, I'm right with you. And they're missing all of this information. And it's a completely different dynamic than what it was before the pandemic. So these are the other things that we need to take into consideration because our little ones brains aren't going to stop. They're going to keep growing. We have been growing for 1000s and 1000s of years. And there's nothing going on neurons aren't gonna go, Oh, we're in a pandemic, okay, let's pause. That's not going to happen. We're gonna keep building this information and our brains are gonna keep developing and it's important that we keep offering as much as we can, in the way that we used to Oh, if we can, if you're not able to be in person, the great thing is, is that a, then we have online services, and the person with you is in person. So we get to communicate with the caregiver that says, Okay, help them with this. This is where what I absolutely love about better speech is we have a practice library. So aside from being able to tell you how to make it functional in your everyday life, we also have this massive game library, where they are kids today are wanting to have that screen time. And we can make it functional and educational, which is so so important. I really, truly believe that to to educate our population, our culture, that the fact that we are online, it can be used for good. A lot of the time, I'll hear parents say like, oh, I'm being bad. I'm on my phone. I'm like, Hold on, I'm looking something up, I'm looking for a recipe, show them that it's able to be used for education, that you're here to learn from this technology, because it's not going away. So how can we use it for good? How can we show them that it's for good? How can we make it educational?

DJ Stutz  41:10  
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that's one of the things that I love is showing the kids it's not just for games, and so we would look up things. Or they would ask a questions. Well, let's go find out and we'd get on the computer. And that's fun. And trust me, you don't want me to get started on masks? No, you don't. So I have very strong opinions on that. So hey, if our listeners want to find out more, and connect with you, tell me some places they can go.

Lenora Edwards  41:47  
Absolutely. So you can visit us at better We have a phenomenal tab over there called resources. And you it's actually connected to our YouTube account. And we're also LinkedIn on Facebook and Instagram, and we're coming up on Tik Tok, and the all the main platforms that people are using today, you can reach out to us, you can ask us questions, you can leave comments in our videos. If you are if you want us to do a specific video on something, leave it on YouTube or send us a message. Reach out to us because we are so absolutely available. And we want to be of service. The great thing with better speech I know I mentioned that we are affordable, we are so incredibly affordable that we're less than a copay. Or if you said okay, well, let me just do week by week, it's only $80 per week. But if you sign up for the entire month, it's only 260 for the entire month, that is less than a copay, especially if a lot of places are having you do out of pocket. And another phenomenal thing is we offer you the super bill. So you have the ability to turn around to your insurance company and work directly with them to make sure that those services are covered. binominal because as we know, prices of everything are going up everywhere. And it's it's a lot and when we when your insurance can cover services, that's great. But also the fact that it's affordable. That is so so important. Because sometimes things are so astronomically out of our reach. And we're like but we need the help. You need the help. And we're here. And it's affordable. And that's that's what we're so so proud of and the fact that we're nationwide, and we're International, so many great things. True.

DJ Stutz  43:32  
That is so great. Now, we're going to include all of that information in our show notes. So you can just go on down, you can just click right on it. If you don't have a paper and pencil available, and why would you write it down anyway, when you can just click? That's yeah, that's for sure. So Lenora, before we go, though, I would like to ask you the same question. I asked all my guests at the end of our podcast, and that is how would you describe a successful parent?

Lenora Edwards  44:04  
Oh, that's a great one. I'm a successful parent. For me, I would say one that truly cares. They don't have to be the best Baker. They don't have to be the best storytime teller be their care and have fun. Enjoy it. You You know, especially for parents and guardians, you took on this responsibility. Enjoy it, have fun, let it be a part of your life and it's a get to not have to be for me the most important here.

DJ Stutz  44:37  
I love that. And I so agree with that. Raising a child is such a privilege and not everyone gets it. And so how Fortunate are we that we get to Alright, thank you so much for spending this time with us. We were talking earlier about some other things that we want to talk about and so I know I'm going to have you back down the road. And we'll be talking about some other topics with the raising these little guys.

Lenora Edwards  45:05  
Awesome. DJ, thank you so much for your time. It was an absolute pleasure to spend so much time with you over the last couple of days. Thank you.

DJ Stutz  45:12  
Oh, you're wonderful. All right. We'll see you soon. And we're out. Let me just stop the recordings.

Lenora Edwards  45:22  
DJ, put you on my speed dial I love you so much. Oh, call

DJ Stutz  45:26  
me anytime like I love you stopped. Isn't she wonderful? If you would like more information on Lenora and her company Better Speech, all that information is in the show notes. 

And as my listeners grow, I am able to reach out and inform more families about how their children develop, and then how to use that knowledge to strengthen those family relationships. It would be a huge help to grow in my podcast, if you would rate review and follow the podcast, and then tell your friends about it. You know, the simple acts of kindness really do make all the difference. And coming up next week. My guest is Angela Meyer, and she is a clinical certified hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner. She's an author, a fellow podcaster and so much more. She specializes in helping people manage through relationships with someone who is Ooh, narcissistic. I know it's work but it can be done. So check it out and see. And until next time, let's find joy in parenting.

Transcribed by

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Lenora Edwards

Speech Pathologist Language

Lenora Edwards is an ASHA Board Certified Speech Language Pathologist working with Better Speech. Since obtaining her CC’s in 2010, she has worked with individuals of all ages from little ones who are learning to understand and express themselves to adults who want to improve their speaking skills and become a more fluent and effective communicator. Lenora loves teaching and educating others. Better Speech is an online speech therapy company that has been remote since long before the pandemic. They are experts at helping people communicate in the most efficient and affordable way possible!