Language Development

Language Development: Warning – Don’t Read This If Your Child Is in Speech Therapy

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If you’re in the middle of intensive speech therapy sessions with your child, you’re not going to want to hear this.

Do yourself a favor. Go out of the room. Tackle that mammoth load of laundry sitting on DD’s bed. Check out that fancy new toilet paper in the office bathroom. Because if you hear what I’m about to say, you’re probably going to want to run out and engage in some really socially inappropriate behavior (I’m not saying you should do that, okay?)

You’re still here? Okay, I’ll try to break it to you easy: your child is probably going to have a reading problem. And maybe a writing problem. Math could throw him some curves too.

And although there’s no way of knowing how severe those problems are likely to be, the fact is that children with weak language development are a heck of a lot more likely to have trouble with the 3 R’s later on in their school careers than the average child.

That’s because no matter how hard you and your child have worked, the vast majority of therapy is aimed at treating the symptoms of your child’s language disorder. Most therapy programs spend a lot of time on building vocabulary, helping your child learn to communicate her needs effectively, and improving comprehension.

That’s all great stuff, don’t get me wrong. But they all make one big mistake: very few therapy programs tackle the reason behind your child’s weak language development. Issues like difficulty paying attention, poor auditory or visual memory, weak sequencing skills- all of these need to be addressed from the bottom up. Otherwise, it’s a lot like painting an antique piece of furniture without stripping the old paint underneath: at some point, the original paint is going to start showing through.

So when you choose a therapy program, don’t just consider how good the therapist is, or how many children graduate successfully from treatment. If you want your child to be successful – even years later– make sure to find out whether and how the therapy addresses the basic skills behind acquiring good language skills.

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  • Rachel Aug 26,2012 at 1:55 pm

    Hi Shari!

    Thanks for stopping by. Actually, a child can have a large vocabulary, but still have trouble expressing himself. That’s because there are actually 7 levels of language function. Think of it as steps. The step after understanding word meaning is being able to communicate at the sentence level – which is where your son is having difficulty.

    Soon I’ll be releasing a program that I’ve been using with my private clients to help kids with language issues. It uses hands on learning games and music to improve your child’s language skills- kids really love it! Check back in a week or so so you can get your trial copy.

  • shari Aug 26,2012 at 5:11 am

    Hi, may I know where do I go from here? How do I find out why his language is delayed?

    My son has a large vocabulary but his is a delay in expressing and communicating to people with words. He is good with puzzles and patterns and actually can do abit of simple math for a 4 year old.

    I need some advise please..

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