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. However, many parents just assume that speech habits of 4 and 5-year-olds aren’t an issue and they don’t feel that they need to seek expect 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. 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.
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 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.
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. This isn’t the case. 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, not fitting in with other kids, feeling lost, or being bullied by their peers.
3. “Kids with Unclear Speech are Just Being Lazy”
A common misconception with 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.