Is My Child Ready for Prep? – Speech Delay
Speech delay can come in various forms and degrees. When starting Prep, a significant speech delay impacts on children’s academic learning and in particular, their literacy skills. It can affect reading, writing and spelling, as well as overall confidence and well being.
However, schools are prepared for this and the majority of them have visiting speech therapists who work closely with classroom teachers to develop a speaking and listening program that caters to your child. Here are some things to consider when making the decision about whether your child is ready for Prep and some educational resources to help you make the right choice for your child.
How severe is your child’s speech delay?
Some children have a slight speech delay, others are completely non-verbal and some have a speech impediment due to jaw or other oral issues (assess your child’s speech delay here). Whatever the speech delay is, consider your child’s diagnosis and how long they have been seeing a speech therapist.
Discuss the speech delay with your child’s current speech therapist and/or kindergarten and ask questions about the impact of their delay on future schooling. Your school will provide your child with educational resources that help improve pronunciation and other verbal skills. If the delay in speech is due to Autism Spectrum Disorder, there are excellent educational resources for Autism available to Queensland parents.
Is your child ready for school in other ways?
If your child is socially and emotionally ready to start school, holding them back can impact their confidence and leave them feeling bored at kindergarten. If your child is showing other signs of being academically ready to start school, they should be able to start with a speech development plan in place.
How will the school help my child?
All schools teach speaking and listening through the National Australian Curriculum. You can see exactly what is taught and assessed for the Foundation year here. Most schools will also have an individual learning plan formed for your child’s speech delay and will work closely with your child’s speech therapist.
What resources are available to parents?
Early intervention can be key to your child managing their speech delay. Queensland Health offers a number of clinics at their Brisbane Speech Pathology network, including suburban and hospital based centres.
What can you do to help?
Delayed speech is sometimes a dental or medical issue. Be sure to ask your GP about issues with tongue tie or your dentist for any signs of low tongue mobility.
Make sure your child is registered at a Queensland kindergarten that has a school readiness program and incorporates speech development. You can search for approved kindergartens here. Also keep your lines of communication with your kindergarten and speech therapist about a take-home program of speech activities.
To learn more about how a Queensland kindergarten program can help your child’s speech development, visit Queensland’s Early Childhood Education page. The site has educational resources for parents and carers of kids with speech delay.
Have you considered Developmental Language Disorder?
You’ve heard about autism but what about DLD? Developmental Language Disorder or DLD affects 1 in 14 children. DLD causes difficulties with speaking and understanding for no known reason. The biggest challenge is you can’t tell by looking at a child that they have DLD and therefore, they often get overlooked for support. Families Magazine is very proud to support inclusivity and diversity in all that we do which is why we are shining a light on this hidden but common lifelong condition. Find out more about DLD here.