As a parent, it is so easy to stick your head in the sand when it comes to getting speech therapy for your child. I was guilty of this when my daughter was young and she had a lisp and a raspy voice. I didn’t notice this at the time – I was busy focusing on what she was saying, not on how she was saying things. It wasn’t until a teacher at school suggested she may benefit from speech therapy that I took her for an assessment.
I guess I had put the lisping down to the fact that she lost her baby teeth very early and I assumed the problem would correct itself when her teeth came in, but the fact was it wasn’t her teeth that were the issue, it was the placement of her tongue.
I was discussing this topic with a speech therapist recently who told me that speech issues left beyond the age of 7-8 years of age are often there into adulthood. Furthermore if children aren’t corrected on the proper pronunciation of words such as ‘free’ for ‘three’ it will affect their literacy and writing.
My daughter’s lisp was corrected and now when I look back at home videos of her when she was young I’m shocked that I didn’t do something sooner.
She still has a bit of a husky voice as she likes to talk ….a lot! I can’t see that anything short of a personality change will alter that, but at least she has techniques to help her if her voice becomes particularly raspy.
An engrained speech issue can cause bullying and reduced self-confidence if left untreated. Most speech issues can be corrected if addressed early enough and through practicing exercises to change bad habits.
Take a moment to listen to your child’s speech, not just their words. If you have any doubt whether they need assistance to help pronounce words correctly it may be time to book an appointment with a speech therapist.
(Picture courtesy of Akarakingdoms, freedigitalphotos.net)