Speech disorders are all too common in children across the US. In the past 12 months, nearly 8% of children ages three to 17 had a disorder related to voice, speech, or language. A speech disorder entails different experiences, but generally, it’s a condition that affects a child’s ability to speak clearly and correctly. When left untreated, the presence of speech impediments such as added sounds, unintelligible speech, and the use of gestures can lead to communication difficulties. As Maryville University’s feature on speech impediments shares, these difficulties can cause children to struggle with expressing themselves or answering questions. When unable to relate or interact with their peers, children with speech disorders can also develop poor self-confidence and feel isolated.
This is why it’s crucial for parents to support and empower their children amidst struggles with speech impediments. If you’re a parent who’s determined to usher in more positive experiences for your children, then look no further. This article has listed the ways in which you can get started:
1. Collaborate with your child’s speech therapist
Knowledge about your child’s speech disorder allows you to understand how you can empower them no matter where you are. After all, each child has a unique set of experiences and hardships. To become more mindful of the nuances of your child’s speech disorder, consider talking to their speech therapist.
In a study about children’s communication needs on Sage Journals, it’s shown that, alongside speech therapists, parents play a pivotal role in creating better interventions. For one, you can provide insights into your child’s home interactions and behaviors. This enables therapists to transform that feedback into activities that motivate speech formation. For instance, if your child loves physical activities, then a speech therapist can suggest a fun game of peek-a-boo to enhance your child’s linguistic skills. Being transparent about your child’s interests and your own concerns allows for a more dynamic way to empower your children.
2. Engage them in conversations frequently
As the referenced Maryville University feature pointed out, your child’s self-confidence may be affected by a speech disorder. When this happens, it can chip away at their joy in discussing their interests. Thankfully, you can boost their morale (and clock in some quality time) by engaging them in conversations. Generally speaking, the simplest way to do this is by telling them stories about recent events while introducing new vocabulary words.
This is why our post ‘Chutes and Ladders: Ideas for Fun Summer Learning’ suggests that going on a nature walk isn’t only incredibly helpful for your child’s development, it is a great opportunity to support your child as they overcome their speech disorder. For one, you can ask them to point out random trees or flowers that they find fascinating. And at the end of your walk, you can each talk about your favorite activity, such as bird-watching. Opening your child to new experiences can motivate them to contribute to conversations more.
3. Incorporate music and singing into your daily routine
Music-based speech-language interventions have always been beneficial in encouraging a child’s speech formation. Findings from a Science Direct article on music therapy show that singing can result in better pronunciation skills. It’s also associated with enhanced phonological awareness, which is a child’s ability to hear and manipulate sounds in spoken language.
On that note, incorporate music and singing into your child’s daily routine. It can be as simple as waking them up with their favorite song. During playtime, you can also download nursery rhymes and pull up the lyrics so your child can follow along as you sing. Gearing music-based activities towards what your child will enjoy is a wonderful way to assist them through speech struggles.
With the above strategies in mind, you can support your child as they navigate through and overcome speech difficulties.
Exclusively written for Julieverse.com by River Juliet