'My speech problem, Your listening problem, and our frustration':
An Australian study published this month by McCormack J, McLeod S, McAllister L, Harrison LJ. from the Charles Sturt University, reveals that a child's speech problem is just as much a listener problem:
They looked at the experience of 34 children and their family members to get a thorough understanding of the problems faced by both sides.
There were three conclusions 1. The family were frustrated by the child's difficulties 2. The child was frustrated with their listening partner and 3. Mutual frustration caused by the speaking and listening problems. The authors looked at the solutions participants used to overcome the problems. These included: a) strategies to improve the child's speech sound accuracy (e.g., therapy, opportunity to practise), and b) strategies to improve the listener's understanding (e.g., using gestures, repetition, visual clues).
They concluded, as we already knew, was that successful communication is dependant on the skills of speakers and listeners not just the child. 'Intervention with children who experience speech impairment needs to reflect this reciprocity by supporting both the speaker and the listener, and by addressing the frustration they experience'. The Therapists at Small Talk Speech and Language Therapy have always been mindful of this and work closely with families of children with speech difficulties.
What are your experiences of this? Are you as frustrated as your child? Does your child get fed-up of repeating himself?