When people think of speech therapy, they often imagine a child who struggles to pronounce words correctly. Sometimes, though, the problem is with even getting the words out at all, as was the case for Poppy, a six-year-old girl living in the United Kingdom who suffered from selective mutism. For Poppy her selective mutism included the fear of anyone, including her family members, hearing her voice.
At about three and a half years old, it became clear that Poppy had the ability to talk. After helping care for some giraffes at a safari park, she surprised everyone by thanking the keeper and saying that Bella was her favorite. A little while later, Poppy's mother was tucking her in bed when Poppy told her mother that she loved her. Unfortunately, the young girl then fell silent for another year. Because Poppy had spoken twice, it was clear that she had the ability to speak. A seven-year speech therapy plan was created, but within ten months, she no longer needed it. While there are many benefits to this form of therapy, here are just a few of the reasons that children like Poppy may benefit from it.
Many children, like Poppy are scared to talk. Whether it's a fear of saying the wrong thing, saying the words incorrectly, or just a lack of confidence in themselves, therapy can provide the child with confidence. For Poppy, within a few months of starting her therapy routine, she said a line in her school play. She has since become the elected class representative on the pupil council.
Communicating with others is difficult when you cannot talk. While sign language, pointing, and writing are possible for those who do not have the ability to talk, therapy makes communicating easier for those who can talk but who choose not to speak.
Wanting to talk and express your wants and needs but being unable to do it can be frustrating. Speech therapy can help children make the thoughts in their heads into the words that come out of their mouths, allowing others to hear and understand that person's preferences and opinions.
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