Baby-Talk Or Speech Problems? Pre-K Is A Great Place To Find Out

Health & Medical Blog

As a parent, it is easy to love listening to your child learn to speak. Those cute little mixed-up words and hard-to-pronounce sounds are adorable when they are two or three, but what about when they enter pre-k? Will they be teased? Will the teacher have a hard time understanding them? Will they need speech therapy? As their first year of school approaches, the cuteness of their speech often takes a backseat to anxiety, but it doesn't have to. Here are a few reasons why.

"Normal" is a Wide Range

As little kids develop, their speech does as well. Some sounds, such as  /th/, are not easy for them to say, simply because they have not developed enough control over their voice to be able to say them. In many children, this sound is not acquired until the age of 4 or 5, so if they are struggling with it in pre-k, they will most likely have it by kindergarten. Pre-kindergartners are also generally very accepting of each other. Because they all have similar speech difficulties, the other children in the class may not even notice.

Pre-K Teachers are Experts at Understanding Little Kids

While your child's teacher may encourage him or her to speak clearly, it is rare that they would not be able to understand your child at all. Because these experts are used to working with children from all walks of life, they have the super-power of speaking the language. In a matter of days, they are able to understand children with heavy accents, the overtly shy, hand signals and gestures, and even the occasional lisp or stutter. 

Early Intervention Works

Even though your child's teacher most likely understands everything that they are saying, you still may receive a referral for your child to be screened for speech therapy. This is a good thing. Some speech problems such as reversals, lisps, and stuttering can be easier to correct as young children are still in the process of learning how to say them. For example, if your four year old says /w/ for /r/, such as in "bafwoom" for "bathroom," it is much easier for a speech therapist to correct than if your child is in the first or second grade with the same problem.

Speech Problems do Not Mean Learning Problems

If your young child is struggling with his or her speech, it does not necessarily mean that there is another problem. Quite often, the opposite is true. Sometimes, little kids with big vocabularies take longer to learn some sounds, simply because they are more interested in learning the new word than how it should actually sound.

As you prepare your child for pre-k, relax. They will be alright. Enjoy those cute little words for a little while longer. They will grow out of them soon enough. Talk to experts at places like Achieve Center for more information.


10 February 2015

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