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Parents delight in new UH clinic method that helps them teach their toddlers to communicate better

Date: January 23rd, 2020 in Care, Collaboration, Community Outreach, Donors, Giving, JABSOM News, University Health Partners (UHP)    Print or PDF

Assistant Professor and Audiologist Lisa Taniguchi works with a child in the UH Speech and Hearing Clinic in Kakaako.

Funded by a former UH speech pathologist who wanted to care for children in perpetuity

By Tina Shelton, JABSOM Communications Director

University of Hawaii (UH) Communication Sciences and Disorders has helped children and adults to hear, understand, and speak better for over 50 years. Always innovating, this year the department broke new ground by introducing a program that helps parents of very young children assume a large role in helping lead their keiki to verbal success. Parents excitedly reported their children expressed themselves more, used appropriate language, and their vocabularies grew “exponentially.”

Funded through a gift by former UH speech therapist Rosetta Fish to the Hawaii Community Foundation, the “It Takes Two to Talk” Hanen program teaches parents of children aged three to five to do many things, like how to identify what motivates their child to interact and initiate conversations and how to incorporate language teaching when playing and reading books with their child. The first year enrolled 30 children aged three to five, and one just over two and a half years old to test whether earlier intervention could prevent problems from developing in the first place. The program is funded for two more years and the future couldn’t be brighter.

Comments by parents after the first round of the program from August to November 2019 included praise like this:

  • “At the beginning of the program our son was primarily uttering single words; now he is stringing 2- to 3-word sentences.”
  • “Initiates a lot more, takes more turns, tries to say a lot more, and tries to copy everything we say.”
  • “He’s much more verbal and interactive. He’s definitely trying to communicate a lot more.”
  • “This program was very helpful in providing strategies and techniques that were effective. The speech instructors were great and provided excellent examples and suggestions.”
  • “(We were) Surprised at how effective the techniques acquired were, as previous speech services have not taught the parent strategies on how to work with our son.”

    Overall, the UH Speech and Hearing Clinic assisted 147 speech-language pathology and audiology patients this past year, 68 of them children under the age of 18. Its doctoral and masters-level faculty also serve patients with cognitive-communication and related disorders.

    CSD is part of the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine. You can make appointments for CSD services through University Health Partners at (808) 692-1580. The UH Speech and Hearing Clinic accepts most health insurance and is located at 677 Ala Moana Boulevard Suite 625, popularly known as the Gold Bond Building.

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