Sunday, February 26, 2012

Childhood Speech, Language & Listening Problems

Several years ago, I had a young 4-go-5 student whose mother was convinced that he had a language processing problem. He wasn't picking up on his reading skills as quickly as his older sister. Being the Montessorian I am, I delved into a bunch of research, trying to figure out other ways of reaching this poor child.

One of the books I came across was Childhood Speech, Language & Listening Problems: What Every Parent Should Know by Patricia McAleer Hamaguchi. She is a speech-language pathologist with over 25 years of experience.

I loved this book. While it is directed at parents, it can also be a great resource for educators. The first chapter breaks down typical development into easy-to-read bullet points. The second covers when you need to be concerned about a child not reaching particular milestones. Both parents and educators can use these chapters as quick-reference checklists when concerned about a child. Chapters 3 and 4 detail how to go about getting an evaluation and how to understand all of the jargon involved. Granted, individual districts are going to have some of their own parameters. But reading this information is a great introduction into what to expect.

The second section of the book distinguishes between different types of speech and language problems. There is enough detail to provide an understanding of each issue, yet not so much as to overwhelm the reader. Parents would be interested in skimming these sections if they have a concern about their child, to give them a direction when seeking help. Otherwise, they can focus on the sections that have been diagnosed for their child. These can be starting points of getting information to help their child. For educators, it is yet another tool to determine when to recommend a child for an evaluation.

The final section focuses on possible causes and conditions that lead to speech and language deficiencies. This part reminds me of classes that I took in college. Nevertheless, it is good information to have.

When I read this book, I was relatively new to the world of evaluations and IEP meetings. Sure, we learned about them in school. But rarely in my experience had I ever needed to participate in them. Now it is the norm. I recommend evaluations and attend IEP meetings multiple times a year. This book gave me a good foundation for my work. It is also one that I return to on occasion as a refresher.

My edition is the second edition of the book. There is a new third edition that became available in 2010 that includes more information about toddlers and those "socially quirky" kids. It's on my list to update.

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