Your child has a speech impediment and is scheduled to begin kindergarten in the fall. Like most parents, you are filled with excitement about the upcoming year. For parents whose children have speech disorders, the excitement can be coupled with anxiety about how the other children in the class will react to your child’s speech impediment and how well your child will learn in a classroom setting. As we mentioned in our previous blog, research has shown that children with speech disorders are more likely to be the target of bullying and teasing. What can you do to help prepare your child, teacher, and your child’s class? You can start by addressing the issue with your school’s Speech- Language Pathologist. An on-site, school SLP is an excellent resource for parents to help prepare their child with language and confidence-building skills for the school year.
“People tease me because of the way I talk.” “The other kids at school don’t like my words.” Do these statements sound familiar in your home? The unfortunate fact is that children who have a speech impediment are often subjected to teasing from their peers. According to a study by Professor Gordon W. Blood, Ph.D., CCC-SLP:
children who stutter are 61% more likely to be targeted by a bully.
Teasing and bullying at school can be a frightening experience.
And the Oscar goes to…. Even before the award show begins, the Oscar telecast is full of celebrities dressed to the nines and giving interviews up and down the red carpet. Everyone seems so perfect, right? Wrong! Did you know that some of your favorite celebrities and high profile people have overcome speech impediments as children? Many business executives, actors, actresses, professional athletes and even politicians have struggled with speech problems from lisping to stuttering. King George VI was so embarrassed by his stutter that he hired speech-language pathologist and greatly improved his public speaking. This training and its results are the featured in the 2010 film, The King’s Speech.
In celebration of the Academy Awards, here is a Bonus Trivia Question for you:
Which Oscar-winning actress suffered from stuttering as a child? Hint: she currently stars in a movie where the lead actress has been nominated for an Oscar this year. (See answer below)
Your child hasn’t reached the speech and language milestones as quickly as her buddies. And, she says “thoup” instead of “soup”. Does this mean she has a speech impediment? Does she need speech therapy? Will she outgrow it on her own? Parents whose children are at the beginning stages of speech and language development ask these questions and more as their children’s speech patterns emerge. There are no real clinical “tests” to determine whether or not your child is a late talker, has a real speech impediment, or if it will indeed resolve itself on its own. Many children with early speech impairments do eventually outgrow them by the time they are ready for kindergarten. It is important to discuss your concerns with your child’s healthcare provider for any developmental challenges as there are also many other causes and types of speech disorders.
Are you concerned that there may be something wrong with your toddler’s communication and language skills? Is it possible that your child may have a speech impediment or disorder? Of course you don’t expect him to speak clearly in the first few months or even years of life, but are you seeing signs that perhaps something is just not quite right? Has your child’s daycare or preschool teacher mentioned that he isn’t reaching typical communication milestones? How important are these milestones? Maybe you’ve heard that it is “just a phase” or that your child will “catch up” with the other kids her age. While every child learns at his or her own pace, it’s important to ask for help if you feel like her language development skills may not be normal. Communication Milestones are actually crucial stages during the first three years of life when the brain is developing and maturing, and is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. If the critical periods or milestones are are not met in a timely manner, it will be more difficult for your child to learn to properly communicate in the future.