One of the most popular misconceptions about children with speech and language delay is that taking a ‘wait and see’ approach cannot hurt. While this approach may not lead to anything life threatening, it can have serious repercussions for a child’s entire future following poor performance at school leading to decreased opportunities in further education, career and employment.
Here are a few examples of a child’s delayed language skills influencing their performance at school:
- If a child is unable to understand basic concepts (e.g. before, after, then, same, different, or, between), they will have difficulties following a number of instructions given by their teachers and educators in the classroom and on the playground
- e.g. “Put your books away before you get a test paper” or “Make sure to pick up a question sheet that is the same colour as your answer sheet”.
- In both these cases, not understanding the instruction can lead to having a book open while completing a test, which may be misconstrued as cheating, and while this may not have been intentional, this means the child will already present in a negative light.
- A child who is unable to follow multiple step instructions may have difficulty completing their schoolwork. They may complete the first step however, they be unaware that there is more work to be done. This inability to complete their work will affect the child’s grades. These kids are often the ones who are seen as disruptive as they become bored once they have “completed” the task, then wander off to do something else and distract others around them.
- Those children who have difficulty answering ‘wh’ questions will often be unable to answer simple questions their teacher asks them, such as “whose bag is this?” or “Where did you put your book?” They will also be unable to answer questions in tests such as “Who is the main character or “If I have two apples and you have three apples, how many apples we have together?”.
These are just a few of the many difficulties a child with language delay may experience in the classroom and although they may not intend to be the disruptive child, it is a slippery slope for a child that is unable to participate in class due to these setbacks. Early intervention is the key to bridging the gap and ensuring your child is able to learn and develop at school and socially with others to their best ability.
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This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have speech pathology related questions, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.