What’s the Chatter About?

By Chelsey Craig,

At Columbus Speech and Hearing Center, we know that the early identification of a speech, language, or hearing disorder is critical, but that it also leads to better outcomes.

The first two years of a child’s life are a critical period for their development of speech and language skills. Communication skills are essential in building the foundation of academic readiness and the earlier a child’s disorder is detected, the sooner a family can make the best decision for their child’s language and communication approach.

At Columbus Speech and Hearing we screen more than 2,000 children a year for early detection. We work with families to provide the best services to ensure children are able to develop the language skills necessary to help them communicate freely and actively learn.

We know that numerous studies have shown a link between a child’s language skills in preschool and their academic success later in life. You can ensure your child is ready for learning with a speech, language and hearing screening.

CSHC also knows know that piece of mind for parents and caregivers is important! That’s why we offer a variety of ways for you to discuss your child’s unique speech and hearing needs with a licensed speech-language pathologist.


This free program connects you with a speech-language pathologist from CSHC for a casual Q&A about your child’s speech and language development. Our SLP can also provide fresh ideas for home activities, or help you determine next-steps for your child’s continued speech and language development.

Chatterbox sessions are open to anyone who has concerns regarding their child’s speech and language development. Chatterbox sessions can take place over the phone or via email with a licensed speech-language pathologist. You can contact Lora McConnell at (614)261-5462 or lmcconnell@columbusspeech.org.

View our flyer or follow us on instagram for more information!

In-Office Speech & Hearing Screening

Early detection and intervention increase opportunities for success in school. Our In-Office Screenings offer families a chance to have an in-person, one-to-one screening with one of our licensed speech pathologists.

Our in-office screenings are a 20-25 minute screening to assess your child in the areas of speech articulation, receptive language, expressive language, social pragmatic language, fluency, and hearing to determine if a full speech and language evaluation is warranted. We offer screenings to any child age 3-7.

In-office screenings determine if speech articulation and language skills are age-appropriate and if there is any possible hearing loss or middle ear problems. Results and recommendations are provided immediately.

In-office screenings cost $30. You can inquire about an in-office screening for your child by contacting Janel Niekamp at (614) 261-5469 or jniekamp@columbusspeech.org.

View our flyer.

Community Speech & Hearing Screening

Our Community Outreach program partners with preschools, schools, early learning centers, daycares and more to offer speech, language and hearing screenings to children 3+. These screenings help to identify children with speech, language and/or hearing problems and provide families with the appropriate recommendations and referrals resources so that any necessary treatment and intervention can be done in a timely manner.

If you are interested in learning more about community speech, language and hearing screenings, please contact your school or daycare to see if they participate in this program!

Additional Resources

Learn more by visiting our Speech Services page to see a full list of services offered!

Check out our Pinterest page and Instagram page for educational and fun activities to target speech therapy goals in the home!

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Introducing: ASL Baby!

By Chelsey Craig,

ASL Baby is American Sign Language instruction for caregivers and babies that’s educational and nurturing!

At Columbus Speech & Hearing Center, it is our mission to help all people improve communication for life. This includes people of all ages and developmental stages. We’re here to foster improved communication between you and your child!

Early exposure to signing helps babies to develop their language and reasoning skills. Sign language will allow your child to express their needs before they learn to articulate words.

Studies show signing with your baby can reduce tantrums and frustration while increasing child/caregiver bond!

Our ASL Baby program is designed to teach parents and babies 0 months-2 years old to use sign language to increase and improve communication.

Classes will meet for 8 weeks for 1 hour per week.  Each class will include time to learn different signs that your child can use to communicate simple things.  The class also includes individual instructor time, educational resources on early childhood development, and Q&A with guest speakers. Our guest speakers are experts from the speech language and hearing development fields.

Here are the dates for the upcoming classes:

Tuesdays, October 6-November 24, 11AM-12:00PM, Register

Don’t see a class that meets your needs? Sign up to be notified when more classes are available, or leave us a note with your preferred day/time! We will be creating additional classes to accommodate interests.

Each eight-week course is $150 per family.

Courses are presented online and provide sign language education for both babies and parents.

Limited class sizes provide an intimate environment for optimal learning. Only one registration is required per family.

Classes will include sign language instruction, guest speakers, educational resources on early childhood development, individual instructor time, and additional resources for families.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What signs will we learn?

ASL Baby will cover signs to make daily life easier by helping babies express more clearly what they are needing and/or wanting!

  • Mealtime signs, examples include: “eat”, “more”, “yes”, “no”, “want”, “need”, “please”, thank you”
  • Bathroom signs, examples include: “diaper”, “bathroom”, “clean”, “dirty”
  • Pet signs, examples include: “dog”, “cat”, “fish”
  • Playtime signs, examples include: “play”, “book”, “toys”, “music”, “outside”
  • Colors
  • Family Members
  • Bath-time signs, examples include: “bath”, “soap”, “pajamas”, “clean”
  • Bedtime signs, examples include: “bedtime”, “brush teeth”, “bed or crib”, “blanket”

When should our family enroll?

Our ASL Baby program is designed to teach parents and 0-2 years old. We offer the courses listed above, but are able to accommodate different days/times if there is a need. We allow seven families per class, if you’re interested in a different day/time than listed above, let us know!

What can ASL Baby offer our family?

We know it can be hard caring for an infant, so that’s why we offer this program! Sign language makes it easier to communicate with your little one. Studies have shown using sign language with babies and children can reduce tantrums and frustration, boost self-esteem and confidence, stimulate intellectual development, and strengthen the parent-infant bond.

Will learning sign language delay my child’s speech?

No! Infact, giving your child an early form of communication, like sign language, has been proven in research to promote a desire to learn more communication techniques, including talking. In ASL Baby we encourage our parents to simultaneously sign and say words for maximum benefit!

I’m in a parenting group, can our group enroll?

Certainly! It’s not uncommon for already-formed parent groups to want to add ASL Baby. It can even make ongoing group time more fun! If you have a group you’d like to enroll in ASL Baby together please email us at asl@columbusspeech.org. Our minimum class size is five families.

I don’t live in Columbus…

That’s okay! You don’t even need to live in Ohio. Our virtual classes provide the opportunity for our classes to be taken anywhere. Just note the times listed in our course offerings are ET.

I don’t see a time or day that fits my needs…

Let us know! We will be creating additional classes to accommodate interests. Our classes require a minimum of five families, and a maximum of seven, to allow for optimal learning and engagement.

PRO TIP: A great way to get a class started is to share our course with friends and family! The more interest we have in a time/day the easier to accommodate!

What comes after ASL Baby?

That’s up to you and your family! If you’d like to continue using ASL in your household, let your instructor know. Future course offerings based on interest and demand could include a 2-5 year old class. And for some families, once their little one is verbalizing their needs, they choose to stop the use of ASL. This is a personal decision, you can discuss with your instructor and guest speakers who are experts in the field of speech language and hearing development!

Other questions, concerns or comments?

Email asl@columbusspeech.org.

Register your family today!