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Speech Therapy at Home
Q: My three-and-a-half-year-old son is having speech problems. Because of this, he hasn't been to nursery school and was advised to go to speech therapy. This won't be for another four months. Can you tell me what I can do, in the meantime, to help him out at home? Is there anything I can do besides reading to him?
A: If you haven't had your son's hearing checked, ask your pediatrician to refer you to someone who can do this. Many times, problems with children's speech begin with a hearing loss due to ear infections, tubes in the ears, and so forth. Your son must be able to hear in order to improve his speech.
Do read to your son. While you're waiting for his speech therapy to begin, you can also help him work on the sounds he is missing. Play a game with him while you are riding in the car or while you are drawing together; you say a word or a sentence and let him repeat it after you. He could earn stickers for saying things correctly or for trying hard. Once your son begins therapy, ask the speech therapist how you can best reinforce at home what he or she is doing with your son.
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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.