Debunking some myths when parents ask questions…..

Let’s debunk some common myths about children and speech/language/communication development.

As an early childhood educator, you will need to be ready to accept a range of reactions from parents and caregivers when raising your concerns about a child’s development.

Every response from a parent or carer is valid and can be accepted without judgement.  These conversations definitely flow more smoothly, however, if educators are equipped with knowledge and helpful information for families.

Unfortunately, there is much available at our fingertips that is not accurate.  Let’s dispel a few of these common myths now.

My child has a speech delay.  Does this mean that something is ‘wrong’ with my child or that my child is not intelligent?

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with a child who has speech, language or communication difficulties and a delay or disorder in communication abilities does not necessarily also correlate with a child’s cognitive abilities.  We see many very bright children who just happen to have specific areas of their development requiring support.  If your child has a delay in the development of his or her speech, language or communication skills….we now know that early intervention is really key and that we can help them to make great progress if we start early.

I was late to talk.  Won’t my child just ‘grow out of it’?

Maybe.  Maybe not.  We cannot know the answer to this question.

What we do know though, is that communication skills underpin academic, social skills and are crucial to one’s quality of life.

The earlier we offer support to a child who is struggling to develop these skills, the better the outcome we can expect.

Some children will ‘catch up’ on their own but we don’t know who will and who will not.  Children who will not just ‘grow out of it’ usually respond really well to the support that a speech pathologist can provided.

Have I caused my child’s speech delay?

Speech delays are not caused by poor parenting, a parent working long hours, birth order, parents not talking enough to their children or the provision of screen time.  Instead, delays in speech, language and communication are caused by a range of factors including hearing loss and genetics.  Parents blaming themselves for their child’s delays is simply not helpful in any way.  Working towards acceptance of a child’s difficulties and developing a plan to support a child is far more positive and will result in better outcomes for all.

Isn’t my child too young to be concerned about this?

No!  The sooner we identify children who are lagging in their development of these vital skills, the better our chance of supporting them to make terrific progress.  Significant gaps are apparent in the vocabulary knowledge and use by the age of only 3 years of age.  These discrepancies tend to persist and even widen across a lifetime with implications across academic, social and emotional areas.  Early Identification and Intervention is so important.

Prepare for your conversation with families and answer their questions honestly, accurately and confidently.

If you […]


Considering Parent Perspectives when Discussing Speech and Language Concerns

“I was waiting for my child’s early childhood educator to tell me that they had concerns”

Too often, this is what we are told by parents and carers when seeing a child for the first time at age 8 in our speech pathology clinics.

By then, the child often dislikes learning….feels they are a poor reader….avoids participation in the classroom ….. is a challenge for parents to get any homework completed….is disinterested in the classroom.

The list goes on!

It is vital for children to be identified as early as possible with speech, language and communication difficulties in order for them to access the support they need.

Support provided in the early years can prevent the cascade of social and emotional difficulties that sadly, often follow, if these difficulties are left unaddressed until the early Primary School years.

Yes, it can be a difficult topic for Early Childhood Educators to broach with parents and there may be a range of reactions from parents.

That doesn’t mean the conversation should never happen.

Here are some tips for Early Childhood Educators when scheduling a meeting a family to discuss concerns about speech, language and communication skills.

Parent/Carers may have noticed some of these concerns themselves

If so, encourage the parent to share his or her observations and concerns with you.  Acknowledge these concerns and reassure the parent/s that you will work together to come up with a plan to support the child’s development.

Parents may feel defensive

Hearing concerns being raised about your child’s development can be overwhelming and may trigger defensive responses from parents.  Educators can assist by remaining neutral and positive in the interaction and listening to the parent.  Let the parent express their concerns and feelings and acknowledge their perspective.

Follow Up

After the initial conversation, follow up with families to see how they are doing and whether they have any questions or concerns.  Not all families will be ‘ready’ to hear the information that you need to share with them at the time you decide to share it.  If you are consistently available and have a positive relationships with the family, the parents/carers will know you are there to confide in when and if needed.

Be Informed

Educate yourself on what speech, language and communication skill development looks like, what the signs of delay may be and what are the most appropriate ways to support the child who shows these signs of delay.

Our Learn2Communicate website is the perfect place for you to start and our social media pages are also full of evidence based information and helpful tips for educators and parents.

Beware of common myths

Arm yourself with information so that you feel informed and equipped to answer questions that parents may have.  Be honest when you do not know the answer and offer to find out for the parent by consulting with your local Speech Pathologist or contacting us via our website.

Having ‘that’ conversation can be challenging but…

It is so important.

Parents are often waiting for an educator to raise […]



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