Speech and language are essential parts of life, and our skills related to communication can be used to inform those around us of our thoughts and feelings, as well as to interpret, understand and engage with the world around us. Many parents worry about their child’s development and wonder whether a possible speech or language delay will result in academic struggles down the line.
The truth is, challenges related to speech and language can lead to difficulties acquiring literacy skills and can be a major obstacle on the road to academic success.
The development of literacy skills, such as recognition of sight words, reading speed, accuracy, and comprehension, is integral to succeeding in an academic environment. That being said, these skills are built upon fundamental language skills, which must first be established. Initially, there must be a focus on these foundational building blocks of speech and language. These skills feed directly into reading and language comprehension, and literacy skills as a whole.
A focus only on reading comprehension will not be successful and will likely result in a child who is overwhelmed and unresponsive. Just as you wouldn’t teach someone to swim by throwing them into the deep end, the same is true for teaching comprehension skills. One must start with basic skills and as they are mastered one can begin to build upon these skills over time. Reading comprehension requires the seamless cooperation of multiple skills, and if even one of these skills is not present or mastered, the whole system can fail.
If your child needs more support with their reading comprehension, don’t wait until the problem becomes too frustrating or their grades start to suffer. Click here to schedule a free introductory call with Great Speech. This way, you will know you are supporting your child in the most engaging and supportive way possible with our online program.
Does Speech Delays cause Reading Problems? How does Speech Disorders affect Learning?
When left untreated, speech delays can have a major impact on how a child navigates and performs at school. For children who are struggling with articulation deficits, often their phonemic awareness is affected. Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize, analyze and interpret sounds and syllables within a word. Difficulty identifying and executing certain sounds and syllables can affect a child’s ability to sound out words as they are reading. When cognitive resources go towards understanding the structure and sounds of the words and sentences, instead of a focus on the meaning of the words themselves, comprehension skills can easily fall behind.
Speech and language delays can also result in a smaller vocabulary, which can significantly affect reading comprehension skills. Without support, as these children become school-aged, they likely will have difficulty with communication in general and may struggle to express their understanding of certain lessons or readings. It is also common for children with an undiagnosed or untreated speech or language disorder to be labeled by caregivers and educators as exhibiting inappropriate or disobedient behavior. In most of these cases, the child in question is likely struggling to understand or execute the instructions they have been given and is not by nature a disobedient or “difficult” child.
While there are many different types of speech and language delays that can affect a child’s learning and acquisition of literacy skills, there are several that are the most commonly identified among school children. They are:
- Cognitive-Communication Disorders
- Articulation and Speech Sound Disorders
- Language Disorders
- Voice Disorders
Whatever the challenge or diagnosis may be, early intervention is the best and most effective way to help a child that may be struggling. With the right support and guidance, any child can succeed academically, reach their goals, and be set up to lead a fulfilling and rewarding life.
How can Online Speech Therapy help with Reading Comprehension?
Speech therapy can play a major role in helping a child to succeed at school and develop strong literacy and communication skills. If a child is struggling with reading comprehension, it is vitally important to establish the root cause of comprehension problems. Early intervention and treatment are also imperative in identifying all issues present (often more subtle challenges are overlooked) and preventing a speech or language delay from progressing into a more severe reading disorder.
Connecting with a highly trained and specialized online Great Speech therapist will go a long way toward supporting your child on their academic journey. Your speech therapist will first work to identify a pattern of skills and challenges related to reading skills and comprehension. Once these strengths and weaknesses are clearly identified, your speech therapist will work to determine the best course of treatment and will set a series of small, achievable goals, each one building on the previous. Our speech therapists work in collaboration with other professionals and caregivers to design an optimal learning environment and experience that is unique to each child.
For children with significant challenges, your online speech therapist may recommend meeting twice weekly for half an hour at a time. This will allow for ample time together to practice and master certain skills which will eventually work together to establish more advanced literacy and comprehension skills. The first step to connecting to one of our specialized virtual speech therapists is to book a free introductory phone call by clicking here.
How can I Support my Child’s Reading Comprehension Skills and Development?
There are many things that parents can do to help support the development of speech and language skills. From birth, parents and caregivers are modeling and sharing their communication skills. In the beginning, this looks like simply talking to our babies, and as they begin to make sounds, we can parrot them back. While it may seem overly simplified, simply talking to our children and listening attentively to them when they speak is one of the foundational building blocks of literacy.
Share the joy of reading with your child. Whether that is looking at picture books together, pointing out and naming pictures, shapes, or colors, or reading a novel aloud while they listen, sharing time with books together is an incredibly valuable activity. It is also a great activity to read a short story or watch a short film and then talk together about what you have read or watched. Implementing a “Word of the Day” routine can also be a fun and rewarding activity. Each day introduce a new word (it doesn’t have to be a long or complicated word!) and explain its meaning and have fun incorporating that word into your day. All of these activities should be focused on fun, and keeping it low pressure to prevent overwhelming or turning your child off.
If you are worried about your child’s development of literacy skills or want to know more about how you can support your child’s educational journey, schedule your free introductory call today and connect with one of our highly educated and experienced speech therapists. Services can begin as soon as 3 – 5 business days. We look forward to helping your child.