It is time to start the new year for your child. Sometimes real changes in speech and language development occurs over the Christmas break for preschoolers. I have seen children improve their speech and language skills radically when they return to preschool in January. Maybe they just needed a little push from school and then some time at home to practice. And they must practice to improve those speech and language skills. Improving your child’s articulation skills or language skills depends on practice just like learning soccer or basketball. Yes, we do practice everyday but do we practice the correct pronunciation or grammar structure? If your child is not pronouncing a sound correctly then they are just practicing it incorrectly all day long. If you child says ‘him’ instead of ‘he’, then he is practicing it wrong all day long. yes it is hard to correct them all day long however, you should try to correct them several times a day. Here it gets tricky. If they child can say the sound correctly in the word, then have them say it correctly again. If they can not say it correctly in the word then you should just model the word correctly for them. the child can always repeat the correct grammar structure, even if you have to break it down word or word. It only takes 5 minutes a day to practice with your child and help them to use the correct pronunciation or grammatically correct sentences. So, pick a time that works for the both of you and spend 5 minutes saying words or sentences correctly.
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We have been talking about advocating for your child at school and at the doctors office. However, always stand up for your child. If you have questions or that “gut feeling”. Go to the internet! There is so much information available to you as a parent. Remember that it is all not true however, keep looking and checking sources. Remember the saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably a scam”. So beware of products that claim they can fix everything. Do stand up for your child and search for the truth. Sometimes it will not be the first person you talk to about your child. I can’t tell you how many specialist I spent money on with no results, until I found the right one for my child. Don’t give up, just ask questions and regroup.
Next week we will move on to another subject. I just felt that this was a very important subject for parents. We are so often told that everything will be fine. If you have a question, just ask until you feel it is the right answer. I believe that the earlier you detect and start to work with a problem, the easier it is to improve that problem.
The last blog discussed advocating for your child at school. This week we are going to discuss talking to your pediatrician. Sometimes as parents, we are intimidated by our pediatrician. I know I was as a first time parent. However, you know your child better than anyone! Your pediatrician does rely on what you tell him or her. If you have speech and language concerns you need to express this to your pediatrician. EARLY INTERVENTION has reduce or eliminate speech and language issues before your child starts school. If your pediatrician is not concerned you really must express your concern again, as the parent, that is with the child daily. I got really tired of hearing the statement, “He’s just a boy”. Well I have 3 boys and they are all very different. My first child was diagnosed with ADHD in second grade. He didn’t develop this in second grade, it just took that long for someone (a teacher) to pull me over and tell me he is really struggling to stay on task at school. I’m a professional, I should know this, was my first thought. So, I went to a seminar on the new ADHD and that speaker described my son. He was not just being a boy or being bad, he had a disorder. This was when ADHD first came to light in the professional world. the pediatrician was just receiving information about this disorder. I had to be persistent in getting him to really look at ADHD and make a move. We will discuss this more next week. What my message is to you as a parent is, speak up and say what you feel! If you have a gut feeling that something is just not right, say it to your pediatrician. If they do not listen, then go to someone else. Ask for the referral! You must speak up for your child so they receive the help they need at an early age. Follow your gut feeling. the Internet is a wonderful tool!