As our little tikes start talking, many of them have cute speech difficulties. However, the more children are exposed to language, they begin to learn styles of mimicking adult communication and begin to perfect their dialect. Many parents just assume that speech habits of 4 and 5-year-olds aren’t an issue. They don’t feel that they need to seek expert help from speech pathologists. In fact, one Australian study said that nearly 2/3 of parents didn’t even bother taking action against potential life-lasting speech impairments. Sadly, inaction when it comes to these early impediments can lead to years of speech therapy for those same children. These speech impediment myths need to be debunked.
So why exactly don’t parents feel that seeking professional opinions is necessary? It might just be because there’s a lot of myths surrounding childhood speech problems. It’s time to speak up about speech therapy. Below we’ll take a look of some of the biggest speech impediment myths and how you can dispell them for your patients.
Myths About Speech Difficulties for Kids
1. “Speech Therapy Doesn’t Work”
A lot of parents don’t feel like seeking the help of speech or language pathologists benefits their children. In reality, the earlier parents take their child to see one, the more likely that their children will develop clear speech. This can help children then when they begin reading and spelling in school. This is one of the biggest speech impediment myths out there. Many will say things like “everyone talk, why do they need someone to show them how?” However, it’s up to you as a speech therapist to show them the importance of speech therapy.
This myth comes from a completely bogus British study from 2000 that showed that kids that received only 6 hours of speech therapy over the course of a year saw little to no effects to their speaking abilities. Clearly, such a small dose of speech therapy wouldn’t yield a very remarkable result. Speech can only be improved after significant hours spent at it. Intervening in a child’s life with speech therapy help is best done at the first sign of possible speech issues. 3 or 4-year-old can be the most influential years of verbal growth for children. Professionals working outside the speech therapy realm should be educated enough to provide concrete evidence that this could be very beneficial to a child.
2. “Children Just Grow Out of Speech Issues”
Certainly, many children have the same common trouble with certain types of words. Firstly, we all think to the adorable butchering kids do to the words “hospital” or “spaghetti.” However, over time most learn the correct pronunciation and they go on to develop articulate speaking. A lot of parents are under the false impression that if they just wait, eventually the child will grow up speaking well. Believing in this speech impediment myth just isn’t a good idea. This isn’t the case at all. And, in fact, this is doing a huge injustice to “wait and see.”
If parents overlook speech impediments or difficulties, their child is at risk of performing poorly in school. They’re also at risk of not fitting in with other kids, feeling lost, or being bullied by their peers. Speech issues are as much mental as they are verbal, so as a health professional, it’s important to stress that these health issues can stay with a child if not addressed.
3. “Kids with Unclear Speech are Just Being Lazy”
One of the biggest speech impediment myths is that kids that don’t thoroughly pronounce words by deleting letters or syllables are doing it purposefully. However when a child is over age 4 and still calling “spaghetti” “getti”, it probably is time to consult a speech therapist. After this time, phonological disorders could be the culprit. When you think about the struggles kids have when they aren’t able to speak properly, there’s absolutely no way that they are being lazy. They simply need to consult a professional who can help guide them. It’s up to you to ensure that your patients realize that this is not the child’s fault. They should know that speech therapy has the ability to help these speech impediments.
These are just a few of the many speech impediment myths. It’s up to you and your colleagues to ensure that you’re providing the best information. If you have any other speech impediment myths, feel free to leave a comment below!