Why are so many children having speech therapy?
As a mom myself, I’ve heard the parking lot conversations about how every second child is in speech therapy or occupational therapy or both. But as a caring and concerned parent, you want what is best for your child and so you “cough up” and follow the advice you’ve been given (usually).
Apart from the obvious articulation (pronunciation) difficulties, which may require remediation, auditory perception/processing, phonological processing and language difficulties can often be more subtle. I hope to cover these topics in later blogs.
Early intervention is the key! The longer the difficulties are left untreated, the bigger the gaps become and the greater the impact on later learning and scholastic ability.
Fortunately, educators are far more aware of these difficulties. In the past, children with difficulties, were labeled as “naughty”, “stupid”, “disruptive”, and moved to the back of the class where they were left to their own devices. The increase in identification results in more children receiving early intervention.
Security concerns in our modern society, means that children are not playing outside as much as they used to. They are not climbing on jungle gyms, climbing trees, riding bikes, walking to the shops and engaging in daily activities to stimulate the development of auditory perceptual and language skills.
Working parents have become the norm and children are left with care-givers whose first language is often not the child’s mother tongue.
The demands of our busy lives often preclude both quality and quantity time with our children. The need for “down time” often results in the use of “technological baby sitters” (TV, play station, Wii, iPad and the like). The very nature of these technical advances inhibits the development of necessary language skills because children become passive learners.
Furthermore, they do not develop the necessary skills to attend in an interactive classroom and attention and concentration difficulties result. Technology can inhibit the development of social language and communication because it lacks the inherent reciprocal nature that effective communication skills demand.
Play is often a re-enactment of television programmes and lacks the imagination and creativity required to develop language and thought.
Board games and language/word games are becoming less popular in favour of quieter more “controlled” activities. The need for instant gratification that is obtained from the push of a button on a computer/TV game is outweighing the reward of delayed gratification that is achieved by strategising and planning in a board game.
This being said, I am by no means banishing the use of technology. In fact, I am a firm advocate of it; this blog being a case in point. My view in this regard is; everything in moderation and everything with MEDIATION.