In a recent Might article by Peggy Gilpatric, she tells the story of her non-verbal son, who finally learns to speak. In the car, they recount the days when her son could not speak, but has now overcome that obstacle. As her son reveals to her much later on after speech therapy, the stress of speaking for the benefit of others caused him to throw up in the back seat when he was younger.
This small detail changed the perspective of Gilpatric, especially since she believed that incident was due to her son being sick, not stressed out. Now, she reconsiders what therapy meant for her son, not just for herself.
Speech therapy, especially for non-verbal children, is a chance for parents to see verbal development in their kids before it becomes more difficult to learn later in life. It can be immensely helpful, especially in a world that prioritizes verbal communication. But, as Gilpatric relates, it can be an emotional challenge for the child, not just a physical one.
With the pressure to perform, children might be working hard at the expense of their own health.
It's hard to know when speech therapy is causing stress to a child, but Gilpatric's words of caution can help parents remember that their children are still themselves, with or without speech. Her story can help parents take time and moments to reflect, and provide support at a pace that is beneficial for the child. While there are no right answers or guidelines, her story might help other parents learn patience and kindness, which will reduce pressure for all.
For more information about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.
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