Last week a mom called me concerned about her 3 year-old son, Eli, whom I had worked with from 1 1/2 -2 1/2 years of age for language delay. I had dismissed him when his language was age appropriate. When I conferenced with his mom, I realized the issues of concern were that he is very quiet at school, doesn’t talk much and the teachers didn’t think he COULD talk much! Huh? This is a sweet, engaging, little guy who can talk in 8 word sentences. Granted he is in a new preschool this year but it is already February!
I offered to go into his preschool, play with Eli, and demonstrate his language skills to the teachers so they will expect more from him and facilitate more talking during the day’s activities. Usually as a child is starting to talk and make his needs known, I offer to do a speech therapy session in his preschool to show the teachers what he is capable of as well as to make suggestions for what to expect from him. At snack time if he is able to say,”More pretzels,” then model that phrase and don’t give him more until he verbalizes something. By simply giving him more snack without his asking, he misses the need for communication. Obviously never frustrate him, but show him what your expectations are. So often, I do a session in nusery school and offer a suggestion like that for snack and the teacher will say, “Wow, I didn’t know he could do that.” I understand they have many kids to work with but it is important to help them zero in on your child and what he is capable of.
Continue to communicate where your student is in regard to his speech and language goals–is he moving from 2 to 3 words in a sentence, can he ask for what he wants, or can he follow a song? If the teacher knows, she will be extending the therapy session throughout his preschool day, reinforcing his language learning.
If you are a parent, encourage your child’s therapist to conduct a session during his preschool class and give you valuable feedback on how he is performing in class too.