Speech and Language Development

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Understanding Communication Delays

Date: March 27, 2014 Author: Michele Dickson Categories: Speech and Language Development 0

think

I have been a speech therapist for almost 14 years and in my career have seen people who have rolled their eyes when they have seen an autistic child having a meltdown in the mall or a child screaming in a restaurant because they have aversions to new foods or overhearing a person say “hey what’s wrong with that kid why doesn’t he talk”.

communication delaysYou learn that many people comment because they don’t know what communication delays are or haven’t been exposed to it.  Last week, I encountered an ignorant teacher who  was not aware of the child’s speech delays but also embarrassed the child in front of his/her classmates.

I have been providing speech therapy to a high school student who has struggled with certain sounds since elementary school. He/she was not aware of their articulation difficulties, but their mom was concerned and wanted to give speech therapy another chance.  We started therapy and the child wasn’t aware, but after sessions of taping each session and critiquing their sound production he/she found that their speech production was different then mine.

This student has worked so hard to improve their speech. They felt confident enough to try out for drama.  We worked so hard on their dialogue and the day of try outs this student spoke in front of the class.  The teacher interrupts the student to say ”you have a speech problem are you seeing a speech therapist”.  They were crushed and dropped out of drama.  I couldn’t believe this teacher could crush this students spirits in front of all their peers.

The ironic thing is this teacher has a heavy accent.  When the mom told me this story I was upset because after months of working with this child in one instance this child’s spirits were crushed.  I want to write this teacher a letter telling her how her actions have seriously impacted on this child.

Next time you see that child having a temper tantrum or a child stuttering think before you comment because you never know how those words can impact a child.

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