It can be confusing to understand exactly what a speech language pathologist does, because they do so many different things!  People tend to associate a speech therapist with someone who helps kids pronounce their R’s correctly, etc.  We do that, but we also help kids who are having trouble with understanding the language they read and hear, and expressing themselves through language. Some examples of things these kids might struggle with are listening to the teacher in class and then remembering everything she says so that they can complete their homework, understanding verbal or written directions that involve doing multiple steps and some planning on their own, listening or reading for details and being able to use them to answer questions, listening for the main idea and being able to explain it to somebody, and writing or speaking their answers in complete grammatical sentences.

Some parents may hesitate to have their child pulled for speech at school, worrying that other children will make fun of them or treat them differently.  Why is it worth it to give these kids help with their language skills?

First of all, these are skills that will really help kids as they progress through the upper grades, and eventually enter the workforce.  Around third or fourth grade, school can become increasingly difficult for kids with language disorders, because the curriculum become more language intensive.  There’s an emphasis on reading harder texts, and writing in a more formal manner.  By junior high, the reading and writing expectations become even more complex.  A child who ‘got by’ when he started elementary school will quickly fall behind, and this can have long-lasting effects on the child’s future education, career prospects and earning potential. 

So the bottom line is, if you suspect your child might have a language disorder, get him tested, and get him therapy if needed. At home, you can help your child to increase his language skills by reading to him and with him, asking questions about what he’s read, and encouraging him to answer in complete grammatical sentences.

 For more information on symptoms of a speech and language disorder, please watch my video or read my blog called ‘Does Your Child Have a Speech-Language Disorder?’

I hope this information has been helpful to you.