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Speech Problems and Homeschooling
Q: My son speaks with a pronounced lisp, which was evaluated through the public-school system. I was told he would outgrow it within two years; he did not receive speech therapy through the district. He has continued to lisp at age seven and a half. Are there any good resources for homeschoolers to use to deal with this type of speech problem in the home?
A: Homeschoolers frequently recommend Straight Talk by Marisa Lapish. The book and accompanying videotape teach parents how to work with their child to improve difficulties with speech. This program can be used alone, or in conjunction with other speech classes or resources.
Private insurance will often pay for a limited number of speech classes or at the very least, an evaluation by a professional speech therapist. Ask your pediatrician to refer you to a speech pathologist. Have your child evaluated to see if the therapist concurs with the school's evaluation. Private speech therapy classes are prohibitively expensive (I was quoted $90 for a half hour), but the therapist should be able to offer suggestions for working with your child. If there is a serious problem, your insurance (or even the school) should provide the help she needs.
My daughter had a lisp, as well as pronunciation difficulties. At eight years old, the improvement has been dramatic. We did not pursue outside help. Although most books on speech development mention seven as the cutoff age, a friend who specializes in speech difficulties told me that eight or even nine may be more accurate. That has certainly been the case with my daughter. Good luck!
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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.