Your child is facing some communication challenges due to a speech disorder, and you want to understand your role in navigating these waters.
While there’s much that the team here at Celebrations Speech Group can do to help your child, the work you do at home is equally as important. While we supply you with different at-home instructions depending on the type of speech disorder, the following four tips are solid suggestions across the board.
Speech disorders at a glance
Nearly 8% of children in the United States between the ages of 3 and 17 have a speech, language, voice, or swallowing disorder.
Speech disorders include disfluency (stuttering, for example), articulation issues, and voice disorders. Please check out this previous blog post for a more detailed look at speech disorders.
While many kids grow out of speech disorders, early intervention is always a good idea, which includes some at-home work.
1. Talk…a lot
A great way to support your child is to talk as much as possible. Hearing language is a great way for your child to work through pronunciation and disfluency issues. Think of it as a running commentary of everything you’re doing. If you’re driving in the car, point out things you’re passing by. If you’re bathing them, talk about what you’re doing. The more your child hears how words come together correctly, the better.
2. Repeat, don’t correct
If your child struggles with pronouncing certain sounds or words, find ways to repeat the sound or word back to them correctly without correcting them. Correcting your child each time they mispronounce something can be frustrating, and it may discourage them from speaking as much as a result.
Instead, if your child says, “I want to go get some ice cream,” and mispronounces some sounds or words, simply smile and repeat the words in your answer. “We can’t get ice cream today, but let’s go tomorrow.”
3. Patience is paramount
It’s terribly important to give your child time and space to navigate their way through language and communication. Placing pressure on them to get their thoughts out quickly may only worsen the situation. To help, it’s a good idea not to finish sentences for them or “put words in their mouth.”
There are constructive ways in which you can intercede, however. For example, you can suggest an alternative word if they stutter and get caught on a word or sound.
4. Seek professional help
As we’ve already mentioned, early intervention when your child has a speech disorder can greatly enhance your child’s outcome.
At our practice, our highly experienced speech therapists work with your child to communicate better and provide you with more targeted exercises and suggestions tailored to your child’s unique needs.
For more ideas about how to support your child, please contact one of our offices in Brentwood, Stockton, or Elk Grove, California, to schedule a consultation.