ASHA Publishes First Children's Story, Everybody Needs a Turn

Book Is Intended for Brothers and Sisters of Children With Speech and Language Disorders

May 21, 2019

(Rockville, MD) Just in time for national Better Hearing & Speech Month, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) today announced the publication of its first children's story, Everybody Needs a Turn. Written by an ASHA member and speech-language pathologist, the book spotlights the experience of a young girl, Hanna, as she deals with feeling left out when her brother gets extra attention because of his difficulty communicating.

Hanna's experience is not unique. Nearly 1 in 12 (7.7%) U.S. children ages 3–17 has had a disorder related to speech, language, voice, or swallowing in the past 12 months—many of whom have siblings. Some siblings may feel that their needs come last, the book's author explains.

"Brothers and sisters may feel left out or even a less important member of the family when so much time, energy, and attention is dedicated to a sibling’s treatment," said Denise Underkoffler, MA, CCC-SLP, the book's author. "Parents should reassure them that they are valued and loved. Parents and speech-language pathologists should remember that everybody needs a turn when participating in family activities and even speech-language sessions when possible."

She continued, "As the sibling of a sister who stutters, the mother of a child with a speech and language disorder, and a speech-language pathologist myself, I have experienced or seen first-hand the range of emotions a child can have about their sibling's communication problems, from helplessness to jealousy. Siblings may even act out in an effort to gain their parents' attention. I hope this book speaks to them directly—as well as reminds us all to appreciate the sibling’s unique experience."

In Everybody Needs a Turn, Hanna, with a little help, learns to understand her feelings and find a way for both her and her brother, Peter, to have their turn. The endearing illustrations further bring the engaging story to life, making this a warm and accessible book for sharing at bedtime—or anytime.

The book can be used by parents, speech-language pathologists, and educators as a springboard for more conversations. It includes a section of helpful and practical communication tips for the whole family. Discussion starters help children understand and communicate their feelings.

The book is published by ASHA Press, the publishing imprint of ASHA. It is available for sale on ASHA's website.

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 204,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.

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