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Speech & Language

Speaking is a steppingstone to literacy and can give you an early clue to a reading problem. If you know what to expect, you can take early action to prevent problems and build a strong foundation for reading.

Click below for answers to the following speech and language questions about:

Question 1: I am raising my children to be bilingual. What can I do to make them strong readers?
Question 2: I have a student who has trouble blending phonemes. Any suggestions?
Question 3: What does "adversely affecting educational performance" actually mean when considering speech services for a child? Does a child have to be failing to be considered eligible for speech services?
Question 4: My child is 18 months old and is not yet speaking, but understands commands and responds to directions. What can I do to help her develop her language skills?

Question:

I am raising my children to be bilingual. What can I do to make them strong readers?

Answer:

As a parent, you play a critical role in helping your children develop into good readers! You may already be taking the most important first steps by exposing them to books and by reading books with them. By keeping books within easy reach (such as in a basket on the floor), they can explore them when interested. If you don’t already do so, you may want to consider making a quiet time with books part of your children's daily routine. For example, you can read stories together right before naps or bedtime or after a bath. If reading stories becomes a consistent part of their daily routine, they will most likely come to expect, enjoy, and be calmed by this relaxing and intimate time that you share.

The following articles will give you ideas on ways to promote literacy and to share the joy of reading together:

By giving your children positive experiences with books, you are instilling in them a genuine, lifelong passion for reading and learning — a priceless gift! Please use the following link to find numerous resources about English Language learners. Many of these articles address the concerns of teaching bilingual students in all the academic areas.


Question:

I have a student who has trouble blending phonemes. Any suggestions?

Answer:

Mastering phonemes is the gateway to reading. Though some children begin recognizing sound-symbol patterns just through exposure to books, many children need direct instruction in this area. The following articles may give you some good ideas for helping your student:


Question:

What does "adversely affecting educational performance" actually mean when considering speech services for a child? Does a child have to be failing to be considered eligible for speech services?

Answer:

"Adversely affecting educational performance" is a phrase from the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). The interpretation of this phrase has been debated for many years. Many students are doing fine academically, but still have a speech impairment. Because school systems often include adequate oral communication as part of their performance standards, children with only a speech impairment can receive services.

For more information about IDEA and Special Education, visit the following sites:

You may find helpful information from the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA).


Question:

My child is 18 months old and is not yet speaking, but understands commands and responds to directions. What can I do to help her develop her language skills?

Answer:

Each child develops language at her own rate. Typically children say their first word around one year of age and then slowly acquire more words. Some children can say around 70 words at 18 months, however others take longer to get started. The key is that your child's receptive language, meaning what she understands, is not delayed. A typical child at 18 months can follow directions, point to a number of pictures in books, point to objects/people in their environment when asked, and point to several body parts.

Reading to your child makes the biggest difference in language development and future reading skills. Also, imitate and expand on your daughter's attempts to speak. If she says, "Uh-oh," you say, "Uh-oh, we spilled the milk!" If she still isn't talking by her second birthday, talk with your doctor and consider an evaluation by an early intervention specialist. This may ease your concerns if you continue to have them.

Check LD OnLine's Speech & Language and Early Identification sections for more information.

Also see the Reading Rockets section on developmental milestones for speaking and reading.

"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." — Walt Disney