We introduce LeoMagan’s most popular video – Why your 2 or 3 Year-Old has Speech Difficulty and How to Help Him, which has garnered over 76,000 views on Youtube. This video discusses why your child may have speech and language difficulties and talks about what speech therapy is about.
With the great interest we have received, we gratefully share with you the full transcript of this video. We hope that this would allow you to understand speech and language issues more clearly.
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Hi, my name is Magan Chen, I’m a speech and language therapist and today I’m recording this short video to share with parents why their 2 or 3 may be having difficulty with speech, language or social skills, and also share a little bit about what speech therapy is about.
Two or three year old is actually a time where for most children their speech and language is really taking off. They are learning new words, they are starting to use longer sentences, they are using it with more people and not just talking, they may be asking questions and so forth.
So when a parent has a child in that age group (2 or 3 years old) and they are not developing speech, they are not interacting, they are not paying attention, parents can feel very puzzled and bewildered, they feel helpless and inadequate. So that’s one reason why I’m recording this video, to just share with parents some of the things that I come across in my work as a speech and language therapist.
It’s really important to remember that most of the time for most children we don’t really teach them how to talk, just like how we do not really teach children how to walk. We let them walk. We provide them with the opportunity. (They walk and fall.) But that’s how they gradually will pick up how to walk.
So what that means is that children are naturally wired to learn talking, to learn walking. So the converse is that when the child is having difficulty and not communicating just like how his or her peers would be, and we do have to teach children. We have to teach it very differently.
It’s more like teaching children how to play the piano or how to ride a bicycle. We have to take them very gradually through the steps, guiding them initially to make sure they don’t fall off, but also allowing them to try and then taking them through the process.
When parents don’t teach speech and language very differently, that’s when they get frustrated. They can’t get the child’s attention and the child doesn’t learn anything either. in fact, when you think about it, the child actually learns that it’s okay to ignore parents when they are talking and that’s not really the message you want to send to the child at that stage.
So most of the time when I see children with speech and language difficulties, there are two main categories that they fall under that suggest and explain their difficulty.
One is that the child has difficulty more with what we call the cognitive aspect, that means understanding what speech and language is about, understanding that objects have labels and names and you have to use speech to ask for what you want, that people talk to you and you respond. So that’s what we call the cognitive aspect.
The other area is the child might be having difficulty more to do with the physical aspect. The oral-motor control, how to move the lips, how to move their tongue in order to make the different sounds.
So of course there are many other areas and you can look up some information about factors that may affect speech and language development but these are the two main categories that i usually explain to parents to help them understand.
So what’s happening is that for most children when they actually learn speech and language, like i said because they are wired to learn, it’s actually very easy for them. Most of the things they’re doing are very small steps. So if they go to school and the teacher says “Okay, today let’s learn about jungle animals, let’s all say giraffe” or “Let’s all say rhinocerous”, and the children will just say “Rhinocerous”. It’s a very small, simple step.
But for the child who’s having speech or language difficulties, it’s going to be a big step. So what we’re doing in speech therapy is to make sure that we diagnose the child’s area of difficulty and then break this big step down into small little achievable steps.
Another way to think about it is for example, if you are walking from one level to another, you are walking on a flight of stairs. If you are able to walk with no difficulty, that’s fine. But what happens for people who may not be able to actually walk up the steps. You may decide that you are going to use a ramp instead, a wheelchair ramp and walk up the slope. It’s going to be a more gradual process, the gradient is smaller, and the ramp is usually going to be longer than the stairs. But it will still get you to the destination.
So that’s really important for parents to remember because there’s a tendency for us to all want to achieve things much more quickly. Nowadays people stand in front of the microwave and say hurry up. So whether it’s trying to get ourself fit, trying to help a child to learn speech and language, we have to remember that the process could take longer and we have to be patient.
What happens when parents do not actually see the whole process through is that the way they teach their child speech and language may be a little bit like teaching a child to ride a bicycle and then just allowing them to stay on the trainer wheels. So the child will be riding but they’re getting too much support and it’s not really helping them to achieve what they should be learrning. So they may stay on a trainer wheel bicycle but it’s not really like riding a bike. So once they go somewhere else, maybe a different terrain, a different bicyle, the child is going to be stuck.
The other aspect is that if you do not see the process through, the child may actually find that it is too difficult. It’s a little bit like being pushed on a bike and then nobody helps you and you just fall off, and of course the child will lose confidence and lose interest.
So this process of being able to guide your child through setting up the small little steps. So this is just a short video to give you and idea of what’s happening when your 2 or 3 year-old is having speech or language difficulty and what speech therapy is about. I hope it helps you to find out more information for yourself or to take action steps to follow up. Thank you.