As a preschool teacher, you have a unique opportunity to watch as the children in your class develop their oral language skills. However, the diverse difference in skills among children between the ages of three and four can sometimes make it hard to know when one is struggling with their speech. As you get to know each student in your classroom, stay alert for these signs that they may need a referral to a children's speech therapy program that helps them increase their abilities.
Not Following Simple Directions
By the time a child is three years of age, they should be able to follow simple directions and understand prepositions such as over and under. For example, you should be able to tell a child to put a toy under a blanket. While some children may struggle with one or two specific prepositions, you should be concerned if they fail to follow the majority of your directions. Keep in mind that some children may memorize specific phrases such as to put their jacket in the cubby so try to use new ones often.
Only Using Single Words
Preschoolers should be able to put several words together to make a sentence. Although the sentence structure may not always be correct, you should still be able to hear two to three-word sentences from the majority of the children in the classroom. A child who only uses single words may need assistance developing their vocabulary, or they may need speech therapy to help them learn how to string words together.
Leaving Out Consonants
Vowel sounds are easier for children to make because they do not require much placement of the tongue against the roof of the mouth or teeth. For this reason, many children with speech delays may choose to use sounds that are easier to make. While some children may omit consonants altogether, you may also notice a child leaving consonants off of the beginning or end of words. In kid's speech therapy, preschoolers learn how to form the sounds of consonants through fun activities that are designed to strengthen their skills.
When you suspect that a child has a speech problem, it is important to approach the matter with sensitivity. Always follow the guidelines your preschool program has in place for referrals and conferences with parents. By knowing how to recognize and approach a need for speech therapy, you can make sure that every child in your care has the opportunity to thrive.
For more information, contact a company like Daniel Island Speech Therapy.