That time of year has arrived. While it may be sad to see summer end many children and parents are excited for the start of a new school year. As with every year you want your child’s school year to be a success both socially and academically. Pursuing private Speech Therapy may help to optimize your child’s success in the upcoming school year.
1. The Preschooler– They are starting school just like the big kids! After the challenge of choosing the perfect fit for your child, you may also be wondering how they will manage the day in a new environment. Preschool teachers have the day down to a science, however some children may find the day difficult if an untrained listener can not understand what they are trying to say. Common rule of thumb is, if an untrained listener can not understand your child at least 70% of the time, it would be beneficial to seek out Speech Therapy. It is helpful to figure out which sounds they are distorting or replacing with new sounds and correct these sounds so your child can communicate effectively with their teacher and new friends they make along the way.
2. Kindergarten– While the rule for the untrained listener continues to apply, it is also important to look a specific sounds. The number one sound in mind is /r/ ! Yes it is true /r/ is a later developing sound however it is also one of the most challenging sounds to correct. Many gurus of the Speech Therapy world urge early focus on this difficult sound. It is typically easier to correct the /r/ with a 5 year old then it is with a 7 or 8 year old. It becomes a habitual pattern to make a /w/ for an /r/ (i.e. wabbit for rabbit) and the muscle memory movement can be challenging to change. Kindergarten is also a good time to evaluate how your child is following directions, the level of their vocabulary and their ability to answer ‘wh’ questions.
3. Elementary School- It is important to continue to think about specific speech sounds as your child gets older specifically /r/, ‘th’ and blends. However it is also a time to start thinking about how your child is performing academically. If your child is struggling in areas of reading or language it can be beneficial to pursue additional help from a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). While keep in mind a SLP may not be a certified reading specialist there are pre-literacy skills your child may have missed that is now making it difficult to succeed with reading. Other areas to examine include morphology (understanding the forms of words), syntax (arrangement of words to form correct sentences) and semantics (the meaning of words, sentences and phrases).
4. Middle School/ High School– All before mentioned areas continue to apply. Although social language and abstract language may also be a greater concern. Pragmatics also known as social language is when we follow the basic rules of conversation and organization of thoughts into communication. If your child is struggling in this area, communicating at school and making new friends may continue to be challenging. Also understanding and utilizing abstract words and language are important to consider as your child dives into higher levels of thinking and education.
It is always important to pursue extra help at any stage of your child’s education. There are many great resources to help children achieve their goals and make their learning experience individualized and successful. Speech Language Pathologist continue to play an important role and can provide strategies and training that can help your child succeed!