Each May, ASHA recognizes Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM), an opportunity for ASHA members to help raise awareness about communication disorders. This year, the BHSM theme is “Communication Across the Lifespan,” with each week focusing on a different stage of development, starting with infancy. During each week in May, Context will feature select content based on that week’s BHSM theme. We invite you to follow us weekly as we share the latest research published in the ASHA Journals!

Social communication is the use of language in social context, but at a preverbal age, social communication may include looking at people and using gestures. This year, during the first week of BHSM, social communication in infants is a special focus. Communication is often learned by watching, listening, and interacting with parents and caregivers. These important and influential adults can teach children—starting with when they’re infants—by communicating often and by responding to sounds and gestures. Check out some of the offerings in this area from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

Social delays after 1 year of age may signify a social communication disorder or autism spectrum disorder. During BHSM, ASHA reminds parents that it’s never too early to seek the advice of a pediatrician or speech-language pathologist in order to identify or rule out a possible disorder and begin treatment immediately.

BHSM resources—including printable posters, handouts, and bookmarks—are available on ASHA’s official BHSM website. For social media users, there are even Facebook and Twitter cover photos, as well as a contest to win prizes for promoting BHSM. We hope you join us in getting involved in Better Hearing & Speech Month!