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What Can Parents Do to Help their Children's Speech Therapy?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 18 Oct 2014 | comments*Discuss
Speech speech Disorder speech

Speech disorders and difficulties are relatively common in the United Kingdom with some estimates as high as 50% of all children entering school suffering from a speech or language difficulty that impedes age appropriate communications. Many children grow out of these difficulties naturally, though some may need more help to improve their speech and language skills.

Speech therapy is one means of providing these children the support they need to develop ways to cope with, and improve upon, their speech and language abilities. If a child has difficulties with speech and/or language, he or she should be formally evaluated by a speech language therapist and speech therapy should be commenced as recommended and continued for as long as is needed.

Attending Speech Therapy

Children attend speech therapy for a variety of reasons, most basically to improve their speaking, listening, reading and/or writing skills. Children do not need to be diagnosed with a formal speech, language or communication disorder in order to attend speech therapy. Speech and language therapy can be beneficial even to those having relatively minor difficulties.

A few of the reasons a child may attend speech therapy session include:

  • due to voice problems
  • having trouble understanding spoken or written communications
  • difficulty learning the alphabet and/or the sounds of particular letters, syllables or words
  • difficulty learning or using new vocabulary
  • due to a stammer, stutter or cluttering when they are speaking.
Other children who might benefit from speech therapy include those who were born with a cleft lip or cleft palate (or who have slight impairments left after surgery for these conditions), those who suffer from learning disabilities, those with impaired hearing and those who have already been diagnosed as dyslexic, autistic or dyspraxic. Sometimes schools or GPs recommend that children attend speech therapy, though a concerned parent could also access this treatment privately if desired.

Speech Therapy Sessions

Speech therapy sessions include a wide variety of activities and speech drills, though what specifically happens in any given session will depend upon many variables. The length of the therapy session (usually between a half hour and one hour), the location of the therapy session (whether at home, school or a private facility), the age of the child involved, whether the therapy session is private or involves a group, and the type of speech difficulty or disorder that is being treated will all affect the content of these sessions.

Sound or word repetitions, rhymes, tongue twisters, clapping and rhyming games, conversational activities, reading and comprehension activities, word or letter puzzles, word or sentence scrambles, and reading aloud are just a few of the activities that may take place during a speech therapy session. Depending on the age of the child involved, playtime activities or assigned schoolwork may also be undertaken regularly in sessions.

Parental Support of Speech Therapy

It has been proven that the children who make the greatest strides in speech therapy are those with interested, supportive and involved parents. Sometimes parents are invited into speech therapy sessions to engage in particular activities, to discover what the child is learning, and/or to familiarise themselves with the activities that might be assigned as a child’s “homework” until the next session.

In order to best support their child’s speech therapy, parents should always attend sessions when invited and familiarise themselves with their child’s speech disorder or difficulty as well as the means by which the therapist and child are working to overcome it. Parents should also ensure that all homework is carried out, and carried out as often as instructed by the speech therapist. Therapists may teach parents particular games or other fun activities that will also support their child’s speech and language abilities, and parents should be open to these instructions and endeavour to engage in these games regularly at home.

Further Information and Support

A number of organisations exist to support individuals with speech disorders in the United Kingdom, and may parents turn to these organisations for further information and advice regarding their child’s speech disorder or difficulty. The British Stammering Association (www.stammering.org), Speakability (www.speakability.org.uk) and Talking Point (www.talkingpoint.org.uk) are all organisations that can support the parents of children with speech difficulties.

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@maryam. There is a website that concentrates on delayed speech and language problems in small children link here which might be of help. It will tell you approximately where your daughter's development should be up to. If you are overly worried I suggest you visit your doctor. I hope this helps.
SpeechDisorder - 23-Oct-14 @ 2:58 PM
My daughter is 3y old.she cant pronounce words properly. I m so much worry about her.
maryam - 18-Oct-14 @ 11:05 PM
My son who will turn 5 next month and he has a speech disorder. He has been seen by a speech therapist when he was 4 and 6 months he was diagnosed at a level of 3 and half. We have been given programs but I feel it is an expressive speech disorder as his vocabulary does not increase , he has problems with his tenses and cannot express himself correct and use complete descriptive sentences. His memory is not that good either. I realised when he was younger he use do describe things by using body actions/hands. is first language is English but he has been going to French kindergarden for the last 18 months. Should I pull him out of French to English school in additions to getting assistance for him. Is this disorder or delay effect his schooling Furthermore is this delay able to be corrected permanently.
Chris - 24-Aug-13 @ 1:41 AM
Hi my 3 year old girl does not talk at all and she will not try. When you tell her what to do she will do it and understand what to do she is pretty bright and she will not talk at all. It is all pointing and guessing words.
dave - 6-Jul-13 @ 5:48 PM
Sir, my boy name karthik. He is just 2y and 6month boy. I am feeling that some words or starting word, he always said 5 to 6 time continueosly. I am in fear that it might be stemmering. Pls suggest what to do. thanks shaan
Shaan - 7-Jul-12 @ 3:02 AM
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