How do speech pathologists help with literacy?
As the experts in supporting children with communication difficulties, speech pathologists are a useful part of any literacy team. Speech pathologists can:
Assess speech and language skills to determine if there are any difficulties and provide intervention and strategies to support oral language development.
Support oral language development in areas that are relevant to literacy, in preschools and schools.
Work with preschools, schools and families for example, providing strategies in order to support children’s oral language development.
Use their specialist knowledge of the sound system of English to help children who are having difficulty with letter-sound relationships.
Help children to use strategies for understanding what they read.
When should my child get help for literacy problems?
Research has shown that getting help for literacy problems early can prevent those problems becoming more severe. Some children may show signs of potential difficulties before they reach school.
Seeking help before your child starts school may reduce or eliminate those problems.
These signs may include:
Being very late to start talking
Using pronunciation patterns that are not typical ‘baby talk’ and that make the child difficult to understand
Having difficulty learning and remembering new words
Not being able to provide simple information clearly
Needing very simple instructions
Showing poor awareness of sounds in speech
Not learning to recognise alphabet letters
Not showing an interest in listening to stories
Any of these difficulties with a family history of literacy learning difficulties.
When your child is at school some of the signs may include:
Not developing confidence with letters and sounds; not ‘having a go’ at spelling.
Mispronouncing several longer words (e.g. ‘congratulations’; ‘computer’).
Persisting with immature grammar (e.g. ‘Her broked her glasses’).
Not developing the ability to tell stories and give explanations.
As your child moves through the school you may notice that your child is:
Not reading grade-level texts fluently and accurately.
Not using a strong range of spelling strategies.
Not able to make inferences as they read, getting the main idea and reading ‘between the lines’.
If your child is showing any of these potential problems, it would be useful to get some help from a speech pathologist.
Can speech pathologists help children with dyslexia?
Dyslexia means difficulties with learning to read. It is important that a speech pathologist is part of the team working with a child with dyslexia to help support their literacy development.