Are You the Only One Who Can Understand your Child's Speech

If you are born with the gift of gab you've probably never given much thought to what your life might be like if you could not express yourself. But as a six year old, I could not pronounce the word "ask."  No one in my house seemed to have noticed this. But my school system did and recommended I see a speech therapist only to learn that I had in fact been repeating what everyone in my house was saying.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association ( ASHA),  "it is not uncommon for children to make mistakes as they learn to say new words."  Yet in many households, this could go unnoticed as it did in my home." A speech sound disorder," ASHA continued, "occurs when mistakes continue past a certain age. Every sound has a different range of ages when the child should make the sound correctly. Speech sound disorders include problems with articulation (making sounds) and phonological processes (sound patterns) . . . By the age of 8 [however], children should be able to produce all sounds in English correctly."

Many children are not as lucky as I was to get help early. In conversation with Kalin C. King, an Audiologist Au.D in Washington state,  I learned that even an ear infection in young children can sometimes be the cause of learning delays. Left untreated, ear infections could possibly impact a child's long-term educational ability.  This was a new thought for me. Because I had not recognized articulation as its own disorder. But in visiting the ASHA website, I learned some problems continue into adulthood.

Stuttering is perhaps the more easily recognizable communication disorder. Annie Glenn, lifelong stutterer and wife of astronaut John Glenn who lived much of her life in the public eye,  sought and received help at age 53. She shares her personal story  in this “Get Help… Don’t Wait” video:


Since 1987 ASHA has presented The Annie Award (named after Annie Glenn for her lifelong work with communication disorders) to those “providing an inspiring model for people with communicative disorders.”  She,  James Earl Jones, Joe Biden, Julie Andrews, Bob and Lee Woodruff, Mick Fleetwood, Jane Seymour, and Bob Love are among the past recipients of this award.

If you or someone you know needs professional help and are unclear about how to find it, please go to ASHA's special tool to find someone local. I now see speech and language through a whole new lens based on my participation in this campaign.

I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by on behalf and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own.


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