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ParentingPreschooler

Can I Enroll My Child in A Preschool Even if he Can’t Speak Clearly? (Bulol)

If you suspect your child has a speech problem or speech delay, here’s a guide on probable causes and options for your preschooler’s education.

speech problemBulol. Such an austere word of the Filipino tongue.  As you may come to notice, there isn’t a single English definition for it. It may mean that one stammers, slurs while speaking, or talks differently in his or her native tongue and is generally difficult in varying degrees to understand. Before we delve into the schooling a young child with speech impairments, let’s examine and define what they typically are.
 

Your child’s vocabulary and speech delay: what you can do about it
Generally, by 18 to 24 months, a child may be able to utter 20-50 words, and usually by age two, be able to string them together such as “Ball Big” or “Feet dirty”. At three, there is a noticeable improvement in your child’s vocabulary, as he or she can begin combining three or more words in a sentence, such as “Mommy play jump jump!”. These are just basic guidelines, and there may or may not be cause for concern.  

However, if your child tends to slur, salivate profusely, can not imitate words, is not able to follow simple two step requests without gestures, or does not react to audio stimulus, your best bet is your pediatrician who will most likely recommend an OAE (otoacoustic emission test) to check for inner ear response, or BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response), which measures the brain’s responses to sound. If it is clear that there is no extensive hearing loss, your doctor may give you options to encourage speech, or refer you to a developmental pediatrician and then to a speech therapist.


The causes of speech delay
There are many causes for delay in speech.  Some maybe as simple as genetics, or just a reasonable lag in development in that area.  However probable causes may be problems with the tongue or palate, or oral-motor defects, meaning that the brain has trouble communicating with the tongue, most of which professionals may be able to resolve within a few weeks, months or years, depending on severity.

 

Click here to learn more about your preschool options for your child.

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Read on to learn more about your preschool options for your child.

 

Where you can get proper schooling for your child
If you already have been shopping around for pre-schools for your toddler, who apart from a slight delay in oral communication is absolutely normal, most all institutions would allow your child to enroll, usually at the nursery or kindergarten level this is not a problem.  You must however be in clear communication with the educators, so they may help you set speech and socialization goals for your child.

The decision usually rests on the parent, with several nagging concerns on his or her head such as “Will my child learn anything at all?” or “Will my child begin to speak or continue to lag?”. These are reasonable fears for any concerned and loving parent.


What experts say
In a discussion with Dos Gallardo-De Jesus, Speech and Language Pathologist, with 21 years experience, and currently practicing at Ithinkers in Mandaluyong and at Tiffany Gardens in Greenhills , she notes that:

“You can definitely enroll your toddler with speech delays to a preschool, in fact I encourage progressive schools for language, cognitive and social stimulation and development.  As a rule of thumb, you may begin school or play school as soon as your toddler is toilet trained or has begun potty training.”

Mrs. Gallardo-De Jesus shares these basic ideas as well:
“Common reasons for delay in speech are too much TV, although educational, it’s not an interactive experience and may impede language development, also interaction with peers is imperative.  Spending time with your kids is always great, but it does not compare with playing with other children their age.”

And if you are hesitant to enroll your toddler in an actual, academic Pre-K institution, she suggests that “Given that there are no medical or developmental impediments, you may enroll your child in play school or music classes or even barangay day care centers”.


A real mom shares her story
In a conversation I had with a good friend, who chooses not to be named, she tells us of her son who was then two, very physically active, charming and responsive, but refused to utter anything intelligible and was often making odd sounds, who was referred to a speech therapist. Remarkably, the child began to speak in 90 days, and though the course was set for six months, my friend decided to extend the sessions to a year.  The boy is now almost five, and was accepted at a very prestigious school with a low acceptance rate.

watch now

 

Click here to learn more about your preschool options for your child.
[previous|page|next]

Read on to learn more about your preschool options for your child.

 

Other alternatives: big schools, play schools and home schooling
Alternatively, there are different schools, ubiquitous in malls, busy streets and near “big schools” that are not just about ABCs and 123s.  These smaller type “play schools” render a young pupil life skills, like socialization and expression through various mediums like physical activity, art, and music. These activities needn’t be cost prohibitive, as you may find or create scheduled play groups with friends and family with children of the same age range.

Note however that some proponents of home schooling argue that socialization is inherent in all human beings and occurs naturally, but most modern philosophies are staunch opponents of this idea and encourage children, even babies, to mingle. Bringing us back to the main inquiry of whether or not you should enroll your child with a speech impediment in school: Barring any developmental delays and with a green light from your pediatrician, it’s a definitive yes.

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