Speech delay? Late talker? Not sure? Many of us aren’t. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 5% of kids ages 3-17 in the United States have struggled with a speech disorder in the past 12 months. That’s 1 out of every 20 kids! It’s no wonder that I get asked about speech disorders and language acquisition as often as I do! Lately though, it’s come up a lot more often so let’s talk about it! I want to set straight some common misconceptions…
It’s a common misconception that a child who has a speech disorder won’t be able to acquire a new language or it will be more difficult for them. I can see how you might come to that conclusion, afterall, speech and language go hand in hand, right? Fortunately for all of us thought, speech skills and language development happen in 2 separate areas of the brain. The two are actually completely independent of each other!
If a child struggles saying certain sounds in their first language, such as /th/, /s/ or /l/, chances are they’ll struggle with those same sounds in their second language as well, but that doesn’t stop them from actually acquiring the new language any more than it prevented them from learning their first language. It doesn’t stop them from learning new words, a new culture, or a new perspective. It doesn’t stop them from experiencing an increase in empathy, improved problem solving skills, better reading comprehension or denser gray matter in their brain.
The key to helping a child who has a speech disorder to acquire a new language, the one thing that’s critical in whether they succeed or fail, is HOW they acquire the language. As you probably already know: 1) all kids learn differently and 2) not all language programs are created equal.
It’s important that you find a quality program that focuses on acquiring the language rather than learning the language and is taught by a teacher who is experienced in working with kids who have speech disorders.
This is one benefit that I can offer within the Las Lengüitas program: not only am I experienced and knowledgeable in the field of language acquisition but I’m also a former special education teacher providing a unique perspective on the subject…BUT we’re not the only great program out there.
Finding a high quality language program that checks all of the boxes can be tough, especially if you don’t know exactly what it is that makes a program high quality. So, if you’ve found a program that looks like a good fit and you want me to take a look at it, leave a comment below. I’m always happy to help =)
Hey! I'm Bridgette!