Your NYC Neighbor – is a way of introducing New Yorkers to a rich community of savvy parents. New York is a diverse City bustling with all kinds of families and personalities. We also love to grab tips and recommendations from moms and dads in certain neighborhoods and throughout the 5 Boroughs, and especially people who have created a product, service or site that helps new parents or appeals to children. Meet Heather Moss a NYC Speech Therapist.
Heather tell us a bit about yourself
I am a native New Yorker and I graduated from Indiana University with a B.A in Speech and Hearing Sciences and subsequently completed my Masters in Speech and Language Pathology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. I have spent the last eight years specializing in providing speech and language services to pre-school and school aged children. Following my graduation, I returned back to the United States where I began working full time in pediatrics. In my free time (now that I am a Mom I don’t have much!), I love dancing, traveling, being active and playing with my puppy Keano.
You’re a speech therapist right? What drew you to that profession?
Yes I am a speech therapist and love it! In both the USA and Australia, I have provided speech and language services for pre-school and school aged children, in public and private school environments, daycare centers and in the comfort of their own homes.
In college, one of the first classes I took was a linguistics course. I found it all so interesting and after doing research about the different directions and professional opportunities it could lead me, I decided Speech and Hearing sciences would be perfect! I basically declared my major right away. I always loved working with children. From babysitting to a camp counselor something in the health/education field was definitely something that was always going to be up my alley. My mom is a teacher and having grown up around her and a family of educators, it all kind of just fell into place. I have experience working with pre-school and elementary school children and my experience spans across the globe.
Are there things parents can do pro-actively to prevent certain types of speech delays?
Talk, talk and talk! It is so important to speak to your babies and children. That is how they learn! Even when they cannot respond with their own voice…they are taking it in and learning… My advice is to talk about what you are doing, sing, and make silly faces. This has currently been 24/7 with my 3 month old baby boy!! Poor thing is being bombarded with language☺.
Is it important to talk to your baby in grown-up language not baby-talk?
The answer depends on the age you are referring too. It is important to expose babies to both as they love to hear a variety of pitches and sounds and are drawn to ‘baby talk’ or mother-ease. For older children, you want to try and keep your speech at a level they can understand, which means constantly increasing the complexity as they learn and grow.
What are the most common signs of a speech disorder?
This also varies depending on the age of the child but some common signs are poor eye contact, short attention span, not ‘babble-ing’ or do not coo, poor imitation skills and a general disinterest in age-appropriate toys or games.
As a new Mom, I have a new found appreciation for how important taking good advice is and I hope that the objective advice I give as part of my practice will help New Yorkers (and those just visiting) communicate – which as we all know, is the key to all good relationships!