Speech Therapy: Easing the Anxiety
Guest Author: Jenny Wise
There are many reasons a parent may need to seek the services of a speech-language therapist for their child. Stuttering, apraxia of speech, and articulation disorder are all common causes of communication difficulties. Older children may feel self-conscious about their ability to speak, even though approximately one in 12 children from toddlers through teens is considered as having a speech disorder. They may be reluctant or nervous to visit a speech therapist for the first time.
Speech therapy is an important step to help your child improve her ability to effectively communicate with those around her. Here are a few tips on how to ease your child’s concern so she can get the most from her speech therapy sessions.
Talk to Your Pediatrician
Many factors contribute to functional speech delays. One of these is temporary hearing loss due to ear infections, explains the Ear, Nose, and Throat department of Cleveland Clinic. Children who experience multiple ear infections may have more difficulty interpreting and verbalizing sounds. Your pediatrician can explain this to your child and reassure her this type of speech delay may be easy to overcome with speech therapy.
Get to Know Your Therapist
Before you introduce your child to a speech therapist, take the time to ask questions about their experience, education, and license. Request examples of ways they have helped children in similar circumstances overcome their issues. When discussing their academic credentials, verify they have earned their degree from a fully accredited college. Keep in mind that many speech therapists may have completed their master’s degree online if they live in an area without access to this very specialized program, and many big-name schools offer programs via the internet these days.
Remind Them That They are Not Alone
Statistically, in a classroom of two dozen children, two will experience some form of speech delay or impediment. Remind your child that she is not alone in her frustrations and that many same-age peers are dealing with similar struggles. Speech disorders are so common that schools across the country are required to provide special education services to children with language complications.
Consider Alternative Means of Therapy
Starting from the age of three, children are entitled to speech therapy services if they have been diagnosed with a speech disorder. This therapy typically takes place in the public school in which they are zoned. But this may be embarrassing, especially for older children, or intimidating for younger kids who have never been to school. For these students, telepractice speech therapy is an option that may help ease their apprehensions. ConnectedSpeechPathology.com offers online speech therapy that is convenient and provides high-quality care for people of all ages. Online speech therapy can be done in the privacy of your own home so your child won’t have to feel concerned that she will be seen receiving supplementary services.
Focus on the Benefits
While younger children may not be phased by their speech issues, older children may experience issues with low self-esteem and isolation because of it. Do a quick search for “speech therapy before and after.” You should have no problem finding video evidence documenting people’s successful speech therapy. Remind your child that this is a tool she can use to enhance her communication ability for the rest of her life. Remember that your tween or teen may also be experiencing self-esteem issues related to their speech. It may be helpful to focus on her talents, such as being good at sports or artistic ability, by letting her participate in activities where she excels.
Finally, assure your child she will not be in speech therapy forever. Let her know her therapist has much to consider when determining an appropriate course of action, including the severity of the disorder and how often they practice at home.
Speech therapy can change your child’s life for the better. She may be anxious, intimidated, or uncomfortable with the process initially, but once she learns to overcome language-based obstacles, she will be happy you took the initiative to get her help.