By Carol Burleigh - 25/09/2019>
With more families than ever before relocating to new countries, it’s becoming more common and necessary for people to be bilingual. Children growing up in non-English speaking families must quickly learn English to assimilate at school and beyond.
It’s common for parents to struggle with the decision on whether to teach their child two languages when they are young. The fear for most is that the child may become confused or not learn either language properly. Thankfully, studies have shown this is not necessarily the case and bilingual children can benefit greatly socially and academically in the long term.
As their primary carer from birth, it’s best to start speaking to your child in more than one language from day one. While your baby may not be able to speak, they can hear your words and the sounds are forming in their brains waiting for the moment they make it into words. Young children who hear more than one language will quickly be able to separate the two through recognising the different sounds.
The best way is to be consistent. It’s best to speak the language you are most comfortable speaking at home. For a lot of families, that is the native language. Some parents will choose to have one parent speak in their native tongue while the other parent speaks to the child in English. This gives good exposure to both languages and the child will learn to differentiate between the two through consistency.
It’s considered the best practice to speak your native language if, as a parent or carer, your English is poor or broken. Children learning broken English could suffer more as they are not learning to form complete sentences.
Children who are learning two languages can be a little behind monolingual children at the same age. But as children learn and develop at different rates, this shouldn’t be considered an issue. By the age of 10, the speech level of a native English-speaking child to a bilingual child has generally caught up.
The reason is a bilingual child is hearing two languages in their communications, whereas a monolingual child is hearing one. So, the time spent hearing, learning and speaking a single language compared to a monolingual child is less.
Some parents have concerns their child will mix languages up or confuse words. This will most likely happen in the early stages, but they will quickly adapt and learn to differentiate between the two.
The main reason is for family continuity and stronger ethnic identities. Families who maintain their primary language retain their culture, heritage and communication lines with family members who are not fluent in English. In most families, grandparents may not speak English at all in which case teaching your child your native language will help them build relationships with other family members.
It’s been proven that bilingual children have a stronger cognitive brain function and can achieve higher academic results than children learning a single language. They may also find it easier to learn other languages which can open employment opportunities later in life.
If you’re finding your child is struggling with their speech or overall communication, a speech therapist who specialises in bilingual and multilingual speech should be consulted. They will assess your child for any speech impediments, taking into consideration the learning of two languages. For optimum results, it’s ideal if you can locate a speech pathologist who speaks your native language so they can communicate with your child in the language they feel most comfortable.
Fortunately, the benefits far outweigh any perceived negatives when it comes to teaching your child two languages at once.
By Savi Hamal - 18/08/2019>
When people think of speech pathologists, the immediate train of thought is speech conditions such as stutters and slurred speech. But speech pathologists can help people with many varying communicative conditions improve their quality of life and regain the importance of speech.
Speech Pathologists specialise in improving the communication barriers that can be present in adults and children. These barriers could be problems with speech, language, communication or even voice. Speech pathologists can also help with issues relating to swallowing.
Speech pathologists also help with communication relating to argumentative or alternate communication to find better ways to communicate effectively.
Speech pathologists are university qualified and most also hold an accreditation with Speech Pathology Australia.
Speech pathologists can help with speech and swallowing difficulties in children and adults. These could be learning delays in children, speech impediment from stroke or illness, intellectual disability, hearing loss, dementia or brain injury to name a few. Some speech pathologists will also work with people of a ‘complex need’, who suffer communicative disabilities through cerebral palsy or autism.Most speech pathologists will specialise in the following areas of treatment:
Speech pathologists will provide a calming, non threatening environment to treat the individual. Children will also participate in play based treatment which can help alleviate stress and anxiety that can be experienced. Play based treatment for children is very effective and can help with children’s ability to play with others as well as social skills.
The good news is no, you don’t need a referral to see a speech pathologist. In some cases however, a referral from a GP may be assigned under the Disease Management Plan which could receive assistance from Medicare.
Some private health insurance policies also cover speech pathology, check your health care plan to see if you’re covered by your private health insurer.
Fees and costs differ from clinic to clinic. It’s best to contact your local provider to find out more about their fee structure.
There are many speech pathologists in Australia qualified to help you or your child. Please search the SPA website to find a suitable provider. Once you’ve found a provider, we recommend contacting them and discussing your needs to determine the fit and fee structure as all practices differ.
Some providers will also offer a mobile service. Our team at Speechify offer mobile speech pathology services in the Parramatta region and surrounding areas. Mobile services can treat people at their school, kindergarten, home, nursing home, hospital or medical facility.
If you would like to know more about speech pathology or to arrange an appointment with our team, please feel free to Contact Us. Our clinic rooms are at 18 Fennell St, Parramatta 2150. At Speechify we have therapists that speak Nepalese and Cantonese. We’re here to help open the door to communication barriers.
Speech pathology is an accredited undergraduate or entry level masters degree. The course is held at many universities in Australia. To find out more go to Speech Pathology Australia - University Programs page.
By Carol Burleigh - 10/10/2018>
When it comes to children, there are a lot of factors that contribute to their overall growth and development. Of course, health, nutrition, education and family life play a large role in how our children grow. But, another important link to childhood development that can sometimes be overlooked is play. Play also helps children prepare for school and, it can be argued, is more valuable for school readiness than being able to count.
There are thoughts out there that play should be limited and more focus placed on academics for school readiness. Whilst academics is certainly important for overall development and success, play is just as, if not more, important in contributing essential lifelong skills. In fact, research has shown young children who play and socialise with their peers in both structured and unstructured play environments are more likely to succeed at school and later in life than those who don’t.
Play can vary from structured rule based play to the more free flowing impromptu play that drives imagination. Whether your child plays on their own or plays with others, both encourage the development of differing aspects of growth. Different types of play can include:
Children who can play on their own demonstrate comfort within themselves and the ability to drive play through imagination. They may be having conversations with themselves, pretending to do the shopping or driving cars around a car mat. Children who play with others develop instrumental skills in socialisation, negotiation, decision making and sharing. Both aspects of play are important and both provide important life skills and improve overall school readiness.
When children go to school, they learn how to read, write and count as well as other knowledge areas like history, geography and science. All these teachings are important in order to succeed in life and future employment, but they are just a collective in a long list of skills your child needs to learn. Learning through play provides skills that are not merely taught in the classroom. Through play your child can learn:
It has become practice that a high focus needs to be placed on learning the alphabet, recognising letters and counting before they start school. But in fact, more children have difficulties with socialisation skills than anything else. Playing with children their own age helps them to learn to communicate with each other, learn how to form friendships and learn how share. All skills that a book can not teach.
First and foremost, your child needs to feel safe and secure when playing. It is a fun time for children and they need to feel like they can be themselves. Encourage play at every opportunity and try to introduce various play techniques. You can play with your child or sit back and watch them play. Either one will please your child as you are taking an interest in them. Whilst your child may love having you play with them, it is also encouraged to let them play on their own. This helps instill independence and allows your child to be alone which helps in times where you can not always be there with your child.
Inviting other children over for playdates is a good way for your child to build friendships and learn to play with others their own age. This is important in knowing how they fit in the world with their peers. It also helps with school readiness.
Speech Pathology isn’t just about learning to talk, it’s about learning to communicate. Communication is the fundamental in life that we all need. Children can struggle to communicate effectively for varying reasons and this can cause frustration. Speech Pathologists work with children to break down the barriers and help build a strong platform for communication. A big part of this is through play. Play is fun and children are generally unaware they are learning. To children, play represents a stress free environment and a place to be themselves and understood. Speech Pathologists can learn more from watching how children play and interact in 15 minutes than would be learnt in an hour of talking.
We believe play is a vital part in breaking down the communication barrier that children can have. Through play based learning, we can build your child’s energy to learn and develop skills to help them become more independent in the future.
It’s important to note, just as with academics and milestones, all children play differently and are at different stages. It’s important to tailor your child’s play to their ability so they can build their confidence rather than feel threatened by what they may not be able to handle. Here at Speechify, we work with children at their pace. We employ a play based learning approach which helps build your child’s confidence, communication skills and interest. Nothing motivates a child more that making their learning fun.
If your child is struggling developmentally with their speech, communication or play, please feel free to contact us for a consultation. We are here to help.