The health unit wants families to use this month to see if children are facing any barriers.

Staff with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit announced today that May is Speech, Language and Hearing Month. the health unit says the month should be used to “check on their child’s speech and language skills. Hearing may be a good place to start if there are any concerns.”

“It’s never good to play wait and see with your child’s speech, hearing or language skills because there is so much at stake,” says Shelley Shaughnessy, a Public Health Nurse who goes on to say “a child needs well-developed communication skills to make friends, learn new things and to start reading and writing. Speech, hearing and language are also critical for future success in school and life.”

To emphasize the importance of monitoring a child’s skills, the health unit uses the equation Speak Well + Hear Well = Learn Well. That equation, according to the health unit, sums up the importance of those skills while showing that families need to identify “potential delays or problems with their child’s communication abilities as soon as possible.”

The health unit says that in Haliburton County, 6.9 per cent of kindergarten students struggle with language and cognitive development.

Shaughnessy says “even though all babies have a hearing test at birth, get your child’s hearing rechecked if you have concerns about their speech or hearing,” she goes on to say “frequent ear infections can interfere with hearing and learning language.”

Families with questions or concerns about a child’s speech and language development can call the local Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5003