Speech therapy can address a wide variety of communication difficulties – problems pronouncing specific sounds, weak vocabulary, speaking with incorrect grammar, using language in socially inappropriate ways. And the list goes on! My hope in this blog is to highlight some issues I see in my own speech room and to address the concerns most prominent to you, the reader.
Strong speech skills provide a foundation for reading - if a child cannot pronounce a sound, he is going to have more difficulty reading words which contain that sound. Similarly, when a child cannot speak with correct grammar or vocabulary, he’ll have more difficulty predicting words in stories, and prediction is an invaluable skill to becoming a proficient reader. Speech and reading are both aspects of communication and our ability to communicate helps us establish relationships with others, enabling us to share our stories. And speaking of stories . . .
One afternoon, I picked up a group of Kindergarten students for their speech session. On the way to my classroom, one of the students became very animated; he gestured expansively and a rush of unintelligible words came pouring out. His poor articulation made it difficult to pick up more than a couple words but he supplemented with expressive body language. When we got to my room, he demonstrated even more effectively what had happened to him while on vacation. He pointed his finger like a gun; he grabbed a chair and laid it on its side, then pounded his fist into his arm. What trauma he had been through since I last saw him! I pieced together his story through his words and pantomime then confirmed more details later, by talking to his teacher and parents. The family had been robbed at gunpoint and this precious child needed to tell his story.
Fortunately, most of my students don’t have such dramatic tales to tell, but they do need to tell their own – tales of a new kitten, a trip to the county fair, a pair of new shoes. They also need to develop skills to read the stories of others. My purpose for this blog is to open a discussion about communication, answer questions regarding speech and language therapy, and share experiences. I fervently hope that together we can help the children in our care tell their own stories.