June 24, 2009,
L.M. asks from Hudson, FL on June 17, 2009
Should My 5 1/2 Year Old Grand-daughter Repeat SK Because of Her Speech Help!!
My daughter called yesterday, and advised me that between my grand daughter's teacher and speech pathologist, they have decided that she should repeat SK. She is very good academically, but somehow is struggling with her speech. She has been seeing a speech pathologist for about 6 months now. I have my grand daughter for the summer, and plan to work with her on her speech, along with having her learn to read and write. My question is, should it be suggested that we put my grand daughter into grade 1 and see how she progresses for a few months, and if she dosen't than should she be placed back into SK? HELP!!!
D.K. answers from Sarasota on June 18, 2009
My son had stuttering and speech problems around the age of 6. Like you we initially pursued speech therapy for him but it did not seem to correct the problem. My son experienced similar shyness and seeming to struggle to fit in, which I think in part was due to his self esteem being effected by his speech difficulty. Adults and children can be unfeeling at times toward children with difficulties. My husband is a chiropractor and acupuncturist, so he did research into alternatives. He attended seminars geared toward correcting imbalances in the cranial and spinal alignment of children. Within 3 months of my son having the adjustments his speech problems cleared up and he has not had them return. He is now 15. You might consider having your grand-daughter see a chiropractor familar with pediatric adjustments and cranial adjusting. Within 3 adjustments we saw a dramatic difference. I hope this helps your grand-daughter. My son blossemed socially and acedemically after we resolved his speech problems.
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C.G. answers from Tampa on June 18, 2009
I can understand your concern. I am a mother of 3 children (one who is 9 years old and has been receiving speech therapy since 4 years of age) and a school-based speech language pathologist with over 13 years school-based experience, and more in private practice. Please realize that a child receiving "speech" can be receiving therapy for anything from stuttering, articulation (speech sound errors), voice disorders or language. While the first 3 areas should not impact her progress to the point where retetion is recommended, the last area, language, can definitely impact her ability to progress academically to the point where repeating a grade might be in the child's best interest. Language delays and disorders can impact reading readiness skills such as rhyming, phonetic and phonemic awareness, and vocabulary development. If she can already decode words (sound out the individual sounds represented by letters and blend them into words), delays in language can impact her ability to comprehend what she is reading. Furthermore, language delays and disorders can also impact her ability to understand/learn math concepts, form answers to questions so that she can show what she does understand, follow multi-step directions in a classroom, and interact effectively and appropriately with peers and/or adults, just to name a few things. While no one wants their child to repeat a grade or have difficulties in school, sometimes that repetition is just what the child needs to catch up on skills they need to form a strong foundation from which to build further knowledge. The fact that they have moved 3 times in the past year may have caused some of those gaps in knowledge. Placing your grandaughter in first grade then moving her down to SK if she needs it would probably be more detrimental and traumatic than having her start in SK over again. The opposite may be a possibility, where she starts in SK and then maybe moves up to 1st grade. Also, being the best in her class as opposed to being the one always struggling can boost her self-confidence.
My advice to you is, work with her hard over this summer, see how she progresses. If you can get additional speech therapy sessions for the summer, do that. If they recommended any form of summer school, take it! You can request that she be tested during pre-planning at the beginning of the school year or have her tested privately to show documentation of academic level/growth, to see if she's caught up with the extra help over the summer and then they can recommend placement into first grade. I've had a couple of cases where the child was recommended for retetion, but received extra help over the summer and was promoted to the next grade with the rest of her classmates. Take all that I've said into concideration. I don't know where she lives, but be assured that recommendations for retetion are not taken lightly by any school personnel and are usually only done if it will benefit the child.
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R.W. answers from Tampa on June 18, 2009
She is a very lucky little girl to have a Grandmother that cares so much. I would put her in first grade and also have her put in speech therapy through the school. A speech problem doesn't mean that she won't do good in her subjects. My daughter attended speech because of her hearing. She was brilliant in class. Speech has nothing to do with learning. Just communicating. There are a lot of things you can do this summer to help her with her speech. I worked with the therapist so my daughter was out of speech three years earlier than they predicted. I have a neice and nephew that are both in speech class. They do good in school. I agree if she is held back it will hurt her more than help her. Work with her this summer. Have her stand in front of a mirror and watch herself speak. Also another trick is when you say a word have her put her hand on your mouth to feel the way your mouth moves. Then have her put her hand on her mouth when she says the word. We also had worksheets we did all summer that the speech teacher gave us to work on. Start with simple sounds and words. Also play with puppets, dolls, board games, anything to keep her talking. Believe me all of this helps. My daughter just graduated from USF with a double major. I am really proud of her. And I am very glad I never held her back in school because of her speech.
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D.R. answers from Sarasota on June 24, 2009
My 7 yr old soon to be 8 in July had and has speech and reading issues. He went to 2 yrs preschool and Kindergarten. He was not on point to "graduate" to 1st. It was a GREAT struggle for my husband and I to make the decision to have him do a 2nd year of Kindergarten. We did decide to have him repeat Kindergarten. BEST decision we made. I FIRMLY believe that HOW you talk to the child about the decision makes the difference.
We talked to my son and explained to him that 1st grade is alot more work and that it would be harder and less playtime. He was NOT for the harder work. WE talked about how last year was more like a part time Kindergarten or in your case could say was a Early Kindergarten etc and now she is doing Real Kindergarten now. When he was in 2nd yr of kindergarten, there were other kids his age but none of his friends. At this age, they make new friends easier than later. The biggest thing was that he had more confidence and was one of the OLDER kids in class and became a HELPER to help the other younger and "little" kids in the class. Keep talking to your grandchild! We moved 1/2 way thru his 2nd K year from Mich to FL and now he just finished 1st grade. He is still struggling and is being "placed" in 2nd. I am fighting hard to keep him moving on so that he is not held back anymore and because he HAD been "held" back in K, they are NOT as quick to do it now. If not, he WOULD have had to do a 2nd year of 1st grade. He would have been way more upset about that then he was over 2 yrs of K. It really was the BEST decision. He is doing great in math and other areas now, but is still in speech and language and OT therapy and Curriculum goals. He still struggles with reading but has really gained some ground this last year. Your granddaughter will have more confidence and will have "comfortable" ground to work from AND will have more time to work with you to gain the ground she needs. If she keeps moving on without addressing her issues now, she could 1) be held back later which is MUCH harder or 2) could really struggle with her confidence and feel less than capable etc. I also have my son in Drama Kids to help with the speech issues and it has helped him in his confidence and in his WILLINGNESS to take risks in the classroom with school work! It has been invaluable.
Mother of soon to be 8 yr old boy
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S.C. answers from Tampa on June 18, 2009
I have a 3 year old with speech issues. I also have a 5 1/2 year old (both boys) that will start kindergarten this year. His birthday is Sept 29 so he misses the cut off. By the sound of it - your grand daughter's bday is pretty close to the cut off as well. I don't think it would be bad to hold her back (if she is close to the cut off - 9/1). It would certainly help her boost her confidence.
My other suggestion is a private Kindergarten. I am not certain of your financial situation, but a school that can give a little more one on one with her would be very beneficial. A private school will also not hold her back academically even though she is in Kindergarten again. They will let her excell and move forward with her tasks, but she will be more in line with the mental or speech of the class.
In addition, if in the future she is well above her class and in a private school, they would be more likely to let her move up a year. My concern would be by moving her into 1st grade she is going to be set up to fail. You want to boost her confidence and not set her back. If you do keep her in the same school, you certainly need to make sure she has a different teach so that she is not confused by being in the same class room environment.
This is a very tough decision to make. Good luck!
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S.H. answers from Tampa on June 17, 2009
When is her birthday? Later birthdays (late spring, and summer) are easier, socially, to hold back than earlier ones (November, January).
Personally, I would prefer them to augment speech and be challenged academically (stay on grade level) than be bored and frustrated with school (be held back).
I know I have seen posts on here from some moms who are speech pathologists. I would be curious to see what they post.
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