BCS Advantage Magazine Winter 2017 - Page 13

“YOU SAID IT! Say MOTH-ERR!” He said, “moth-ER,” hardly blinking. “Say FATH-ERR!” “Say ERR ERR ERR!” “ER-ER- ER.” He barely smiled at me, but his eyes were bright. “How do you feel?! You did it! What’s it like?!” I said. “Easy,” he replied with a half-smile. While having difficulty with R might not seem like such a problem in the grand scheme of life, it can be devastating for a pre-teen boy. Think of the competition boys feel with each other. Think of the pressure a boy feels when talking to a girl he likes. Think about speaking up in class when the teacher demands an answer. He had to practice to learn how to incorporate his new sound into his speech, but he found his personal power that day, and witnessing this was amazing. For him, this was a great victory, because speech is self-advocacy; it’s relationship-it’s everything. Elijah (left) quizzes Ivy (right) during speech therapy. So, what can we do to encourage and celebrate our children’s voices in the world? Much. Read aloud together and have fun with books, at any age. Sing with your children. Play with speech sounds in the mirror and make faces with young kids. Have children write grocery lists and thank-you notes. Use cooperative, social learning strategies in the classroom. Ms. Knapp helps Ivy sound out a word during speech therapy. Listen more. Wait before responding to give time for kids to finish their thoughts. Record what they say. Ask children to teach you about something they learned. Speak in a gentle, evenly-paced manner to allow kids more time to process the message. Be their advocates and praise them every single day. And when you drive down the road and notice the splendid colors of the sky, and the arresting beauty of the trees, remember your children’s voices with reverence. Brandon reviewing sounds with Ms. Knapp. 11