According to information provided by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 5 percent of children in the United States have a noticeable speech disorder by the first grade. This may include stuttering, difficulty pronouncing specific sounds, and other speech and language problems. If you are a parent, teacher, or someone else who works with children, there is a good chance you know a child with a speech disorder. What can you do to help a child who faces this struggle though?
Recognize the Problem
One of the first keys is to recognize the problem. While young children are not going to have perfect language skills right away, children who do not develop language skills at the same pace as their peers may need added assistance to properly develop those skills. Children who are struggling may benefit from speech therapy services. You can discuss this possibility with your child's doctor or school.
Work with the Child
Parents and teachers can work with the child to help the child develop proper language skills. One of the most important things you can do is to use proper pronunciation yourself. Baby talk might have been cute when your child was a baby, but continuing to use it may add to your child's problem. It is also important to model the correct way to say words. When your child has mispronounced a word, repeat the word in a sentence with emphasis on the part of the word that the child mispronounced.
If you have the skills and resources, volunteer your services to help children who are struggling with language skills. For example, RiteCare of Utah provides free speech therapy as well as reading help to children in Utah whose parents would otherwise be unable to afford the language help their children need.
Working with children to help them improve their language skills can be a rewarding experience. If you are interested in a speech therapy job or another position that allows you to work with children, contact us.
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