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Monday, February 04, 2013

Get help for children before the cute lisp becomes cumbersome



I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech
and a heck of a teacher dear. ;-) My trip last week
to Atlanta has me thinking about the importance of
speech therapy and how I'm glad I got it for one of
my own children.
Last week, I was at the Georgia Tech men's basketball game and sat in front of eight boys who were about ten. I admit, I'm a people watcher - but not really a people watcher but a people lover. Precious children with the world ahead of them just pull on my heart strings every time.

As I sat down, the boys were getting settled and one of them commented.

"Hey, look, there's girls dancing."
"Hey, they don't have many clothes on."
All at the same time all eight of them said.

"coooooool"

(I guess they were just getting to the age that it was ok to say that.) We were sitting in some great seats that my Dad got us because he supports Georgia Tech's fundraising program. At halftime, they were debating what they would do and said:

"What do we do? Sit in our seats and be bored, or get up and go eat desserts and drink drinks and tell stories and have fun?"

They promptly got up and left. Because I work with teenage boys, it was just so like the teens (and grown men), that it made me smile. I love that about the men in my life... they love to eat and tell stories...and I love to listen.

But the little, extroverted boy in the white T-shirt with the lisp just cracked me up. After his halftime during which he must have had quite a bit of the chocolate and Coca-Cola, he came back talking a mile a minute. First, there was the Zaxby's Foul shot.

"He got the 'thaxby's thoul thot!' The 'thaxby's thoul thot!!'"

Then, when they were shooting shirts in to the stands.

"Pulease help usth! We need uh t-sthirt."

Finally, near the end, he talked to his friend with the Wake Forest Tshirt

"Dude, wake foresth losth - there is no way they can sthore 30 poinsth in the lasth sthecond."
I wanted to turn around and say,

"Oh, do you mean the last six seconds?"
It was so cute. But this conversation came back to me as I was talking to a person who was discussing when and if kids need speech therapy.

Cute can become cumbersome.

One of my own children had a lisp as a child. Sure, it was cute, but I knew if we didn't do something at a very young age, that it would no longer be cute, it would be cumbersome.

So, in first grade we found a VERY GOOD speech therapist and by third grade, the lisp was gone. My child no longer has the lisp and I'm so relieved and sometimes don't even think of it. But this Mom was saying that she wasn't sure that she wanted to get her child help because it was 'cute." Another chimed in about an older child she knew who still had the lisp and it was no longer cute, in fact, it was limiting her in what she wanted to do but she couldn't "fix" it.

Speech Therapists are important

All of this comes together to mention the importance of good speech therapist. Teachers come in all sizes and shapes and speech therapists are needed, valuable people -- especially good ones. I've watched speech therapists in action and it looks like they are playing games. The difference is that the good ones actually are able to get results and the others do not.

Partnering with parents and teachers to help children is important to correcting speech issues

I recall with my child that the speech therapist actually met with me and my child's teacher and we had cues that we'd give my child when he/she would revert into the bad habits. We were all partners to help the child move forward and speak articulately. Our health insurance even helped.

I'm writing this to all of you out there who work with children or have children of their own. There is an age that children do need help with their lisp or their speech impediment... the tough thing is that age is just at the edge of cuteness turning into a problem. I'm so glad that we got my child help for this.

Physical therapists and speech therapists - you are teachers too and my hat is off to you. If more parents would realize that cute turns into limiting very quickly and the longer you wait from "prime time" for helping children overcome such things, the harder it will be and more expensive it will be to help the child overcome the issues.

Physical and speech therapists -- remember your noble calling. Work with teachers and parents and remember that we're all on the same team.

Be the adult because kids won't know why they need to change

Far too many parents care more about being popular than being a parent. From experience, when I've gotten my children tutoring, physical therapy or speech therapy, or even shots - my children were rarely happy about it.

Kids complain about such things because they literally don't see or hear anything wrong with what they are saying or doing. It is our job to see the big picture and long term and do the right thing by our children when they become adults.

Remember your noble calling, teacher... parent...therapist.  You are "coooooool" and important!

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