If it seems like your child can’t keep up in elementary school, you’re not alone. StatCan reports that 3.2% of all Canadian children have some form of learning disability, and the transition to school is one of the most common times for diagnosing them. A language-based learning disability is far from insurmountable, and in no way reflects a child’s intelligence. In fact, kids with a language-based LD typically display average to above-average intelligence. They may lack the communication skills including reading, writing, and verbal understanding expected at their age. A Toronto speech pathologist can help uncover the high-achieving student hiding behind a learning disability.
If you’re concerned about your son or daughter’s performance in school, there is a list of signs of language-based LDs compiled by Toronto speech therapy experts Simone Friedman SLS. A young student with a communication disorder may have difficulty:
- Adopting new vocabulary learned from reading or listening
- Following instructions or comprehending lessons, especially written instructions on tests and homework
- Speaking; they may not be able to clearly express their own thoughts and instead use vague words to fill in specific vocabulary they can’t remember
- Remembering times tables, spelling, or how to read a clock
- Following the plot of a story or a movie
- Telling the difference between left and right
- Learning the alphabet, as well as identifying the sounds that correspond to letters and syllables
Students improve their reading and listening comprehension, and their writing abilities in speech therapy sessions with Simone Friedman, one of the speech therapy services in Toronto that works with all age groups on a number of language disorders. For students from junior kindergarten to grade 8, their speech therapists analyze literacy and create lessons to overcome language-based challenges.
An assessment reveals the underlying reasons a student has difficulty reading, and treatment then targets those specific causes. The three main treatment targets are:
- Early skills, like the ability to recognize letters and associate them with sounds and syllables
- Building vocabulary through visualization and memory, as well as higher functions of comprehension such as figurative and symbolic language, and understanding themes and main ideas
- Decoding skills such as syllable chunking (learning how to pronounce and spell multisyllabic words), recognizing prefixes and suffixes, and digraphs (a single sound made with two letters, like the ‘ch’ in ‘chicken’)
Communication difficulties tend to become more apparent as school places higher demands on a student’s writing ability. The speech therapists at Simone Friedman will work with your child on their ability to write at any level, whether they struggle to organize sentences and paragraphs or if they have a hard time writing coherent essays. Written communications are the foundation of academic, and later, career success. Early language therapy puts your child on the path to success by overcoming their language disorder. There’s a long list of successful, brilliant people who had disorders like dyslexia, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Albert Einstein. Don’t let your child’s learning disability control their academic performance; put them in the driver’s seat with speech therapy in Toronto today.