22 September 2016 – Speech and language problems in children

Hannah Pool, a speech therapist from Greys Hospital, spent the afternoon with us talking about speech problems in learners. Hannah works with neonatal patients, cerebral palsy patients, patients who have suffered seizures and even adults who have had cancer or strokes. Speech therapists work with a wide variety of patients dealing with varied issues and difficulties.

Children who have speech issues will usually develop these around age 7, for example the R and l sounds should develop properly by age 7. Some of the categories of speech and language problems are: speech sound disorders, stuttering, language-based learning disability, preschool language disorders, cleft lip and cleft palate as well as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

ADD and ADHD can also put a strain on learners and teachers alike. Children who have ADHD tend to be curious, creative, energetic and entertaining and they tend to do best with teachers who are flexible, follow clear routines, are consistent and provide a range of activities. Ultimately be firm about boundaries. Some hints and tips include using cue words like “listen now” and “get ready” to refocus attention. Also try focused instructions like getting the learners to repeat instructions back to the teacher. Home life and home routines are also very important and it can be very challenging for teachers to get parents on board with them.

The contact details for the Greys Hospital speech therapy department is 033 897 3198.

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