Talking is Hard for Me! Encouraging Communication in Children with Speech-Language Difficulties, by Linda M. Reinert, M.S., CCC-SLP
A couple months ago, I was graciously offered a copy of the book, Talking is Hard for Me! By Linda M. Reinert, M.S., CCC-SLP for my review. Then, presenting a poster at the ASHA conference snuck up on me and I squeezed in another private client, so this lovely book got put on the back burner. Now seems like the perfect time though to give you some details about what might be a nice Hanukah or Christmas gift!
For starters, this isn't your typical book filled with research quotes and terms that you haven't used since graduate school and need to Google to refresh your memory. Instead, this book reads more like a story that you could easily read at bedtime since it's about 13 pages long, not including pictures. It's written such that a young child could comprehend some meaning with pictures that are kid-friendly and brightly colored. I immediately felt like this book would best suit siblings of those with speech and language delays since it gives some concrete examples and advice for enhancing communication. I also think Talking is Hard for Me is a good read for inclusion classrooms to help peers of students with needs identify ways to open the doors of communication. Each page of the story includes a "Talk to the Child" note that explains the message of that page and further probes comprehension with questions.
The story begins with a child who is able to make his or her needs with little effort, but the prompts on this page ask if this is the best approach. Over the next couple pages, things begin to change for the child who is nonverbal because all of the communicative partners begin putting more demands for communication, rather than continue assuming what the child with needs desires, by encouraging signing, initial sound vocalizations, and/or picture exchange before desired items are made available. The next two pages describe the benefits of signing and various augmentative and alternative communication. Then, the story shifts to the challenges of imitations and offers suggestions for how to help make this task easier. The remaining pages discuss the following important strategies: being patient, taking turns to talk, giving choices, using shorter sentences, modeling repetitions, singing, and vocal play during book readings. Finally, the last page acknowledges how using signs with vocal approximations makes the child with a speech and language delay feel empowered and proud.
Immediately following the story are suggestions for some tips and techniques on enhancing communication that include brief descriptions of these strategies: seeking advice; expecting communication; creating a natural need to talk; using sign language; offering extra support-AAC; no pressure practice; waiting with anticipation; taking turns; offering choices; making it attainable; the magic of music; book time; accepting imperfection; and offering empathy. This section seems especially helpful for teachers, daycare providers, and extended family members.
Then, you get even more information from several, wonderful appendices that include the following:
Appendix A: Glossary of Speech-Related Terms, Acronyms, and Abbreviations- alphabetically lists 58 terms commonly used by both medical and educational professionals.
Appendix B: Delay vs. Disorder- concise definitions of each term and bullet points summarizing what early intervention services may include.
Appendix C: Speech vs. Language- There is a Difference- clear definitions of expressive language delay/ disorder and speech delay/disorder.
Appendix D: Childhood Apraxia of Speech- very brief explanation of the challenges of imitation for children with apraxia.
Appendix E: Functional Communication- bullet point list of specific examples of words a young child would use to communicate.
Appendix F: List of a Words Used Frequently by Toddlers
Appendix G: Developmental Milestones of Typically Developing Children- First 12 Months- expectations are grouped into three, six, and twelve months of age.
Appendix H: Recommended Resources
As I stated earlier in this review, Talking is Hard for Me would make a nice stocking stuffer or Hanukah gift this season. You can purchase it through Woodbine House here for the sale price of $14.21! Definitely money well spent!
Disclosure: Woodbine House provided a copy of: Talking is Hard for Me by Linda M. Reinert, M.S., CCC-SLP. No other compensation or sale proceeds were given in exchange for this review.