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The Princess and the Speech Class

Posted by on May 19, 2010

Today was Princess’ last special ed. class for the school year.  I am a little frustrated with how little they have focused on her speech.  When I’ve asked about it I was told that they needed to establish a ‘base’ or rapport with her before they could proceed with working on her speech; that they would lose her if they tried to ‘drill’ her on her speech.  Frankly, I do not understand this reasoning at all.  Buddy was younger than this when he had speech classes back in Illinois and they did not establish a ‘base’ with him before beginning speech therapy.  Even taking into account differences in personality and temperament, the fact that he progressed very quickly and she has made so little progress in the same amount of time makes me a little dubious about the philosophy they have here.

Instead they have been focusing on Princess’ language skills.  Most days when I’ve picked her up after class her teacher will tell me how they’ve worked on matching or sorting things, focusing on words like on, over, behind, etc.  These little reports are usually accompanied be a statement conveying their surprise at how well she did.  I’m not a confrontational person and don’t like to offend people, but I came very close several times to saying, ‘Of course she’s doing well; she already knows all that stuff.’  The problem isn’t that she is lacking in her knowledge of language; it’s that she doesn’t speak clearly enough for people to understand her and when she is talking in a conversational manner she tends to talk fast and drop words.  There was one day the teacher said they were working on getting her to say ‘is’; but as I said to my sister later – what’s the point of teaching her to say, ‘The school is big’ instead of ‘School big’ when most people won’t even understand that she said ‘school’ or ‘big’?

When I meet with the special ed. staff this fall to discuss the new school year I’m going to tell them I want to drop the language and focus primarily on her speech.  Princess is definitely behind the average in acquiring the ability to make certain sounds (l, w, th, ch, etc.), but the majority of the problem seems to be that she is just sloppy in her speech.  I believe that if we can work together on getting her to slow down a little and concentrate on what she is saying that the language part (is, and, the, etc.) will likely correct itself.  Dh and I have seen evidence of this at home when we’ve worked with her.

Sometimes I wonder about whether it is really worth it to have to deal with the public school system about this.  However, I know that the outside influence is important.  Knowing that it isn’t just Mommy and Daddy who are concerned about this made a lot of difference for Buddy and I’m sure will affect Princess too.  So, for now I will try to relax the next couple months and pray that this fall I will be able to order my thoughts and words in such a way as to convey my thoughts and feelings about all of this.

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