My Speech Therapy Story: How My Child’s School System Let Me Down
January 30, 2012 by Amanda Lane
I have to say that I am disgusted with our school system in the area of Speech Therapy. My daughter is above average academically and does not have any major social problems, but she cannot say her blended ‘r’ correctly. I had made requests to the speech therapist at her elementary school a few times for her and my son to be evaluated. The answer is always the same. I was told that both of my children do not say their ‘r’ sound correctly, but since it is not interfering with them socially or with their academic progress, we cannot receive any help from the school system.
So, when my daughter was in 4th grade I took her to our local hospital for Speech Therapy. Since our insurance doesn’t cover any part of the cost, we were being billed over $300 a month for once-a-week therapy. After a few months without seeing any improvement, we stopped going. (The hospital was really geared toward speech for adult stroke victims and such.) So, I decided to research speech therapy on my own. There is a lot of free information online so I began trying to work with my children on my own. I felt like it was starting to help, but then my daughter would always fall back into her old speech habits. It's so frustrating! So, life goes on and then I realize my daughter is about to start middle school and she can’t say, “girl,” “world,” “hurt,” “first,” “here” and other similar words correctly. I feel so guilty that I've let this continue, but I am also so angry with the school system. My husband had the same speech problem, yet he got speech therapy in early elementary school back in the 1970’s so that when he started middle school he was speaking just fine. Why hasn’t this been the case with my children? It really is a disservice.
So as always I chose to take the bull by the horns. I did hours of online research on a new technology that would help kids with speech therapy. I set up phone conferences and read the statistics on the success rates with this a biofeedback system, and we purchased it, along with online speech therapy that we do via the Internet. We work on her speech therapy together every day, but it is still very difficult — old habits are hard to break. About 8 weeks into the therapy, we finally began to see a glimmer of hope. It was like a light had come on and my daughter made the connection between tongue placement and the sounds produced. The therapist who works with us online is telling me that she is doing great and that it just takes more time with some children. I am not giving up on my daughter! I know she can overcome this speech barrier.
P.S. I just want to spread the word to other parents to get speech therapy early for your child if there's a problem. You cannot count on your school system.