Language and starting school

No guesswork for the teacher
A class is composed of about twenty children with different personalities, needs and skills. At the beginning of kindergarten, some will adapt easily while others will be more withdrawn. The teacher has to teach them but he must also understand their individual realities and try to see what could be an obstacle to learning. Identify children who have a disorder or a language delay may be slow or complicated in some situations if we don’t know anything about the general behaviour of the child outside of school. Some children may fit right in if they are smart enough to follow others and imitate them, even without understanding the instructions. Also, the short answers given by a child may be interpreted as shyness rather than a difficulty to speak. Talking about our doubts only helps the teacher and can speed up a process that might be necessary.

Get the appropriate and good services

If it is your first child, you may not know about the services offered by your school board. Without entering a political or social debate, it is important to know that every school board and possibly every school have different numbers of professionals and they all have varied and limited affectations. When reading editorials, watching certain news, we realize that the lack of those services is denounced by many parents whose children cannot receive the services they need.

But beautiful stories exist too and I know children whose follow-up helped them enjoy school, make progress and learn because their school offered them appropriate people, support and programs. So the only good advice I can give is to be aware of what could be offered to your child: what professionals are there? Does their role include detection, evaluation, follow-up or participating in exchanges to build a personalized intervention plan or to refer to a professional outside of school? Does the school board offer classes for children with special needs? When and under what conditions are children referred?

Take action immediately

Speech therapists are the people specialized in language interventions. If in doubt, and if you think your child will not be ready for school, I suggest consulting Speech Therapy Montreal who will suggest resources in your area.

Sylvie Desmarais
Speech therapist

Sylvie Desmarais has been a speech therapist for thirty years and is the mother of two big boys. She always wanted to make her knowledge about language and communication understandable and accessible. Former Université de Montreal teacher, she has given many conferences to parents of young children and she spent much of her career training doctors and early childhood professionals. She strongly believes in the importance of early detection of language disorders, which is why she participated in many activities to raise awareness and stimulate the development of language. For her, it is essential that parents follow the evolution of their children and communicate with them. It is to give them the tools to do so that she wrote the "Language guide for 0-6 years old children" (Guide du langage de 0 à 6 ans) published in 2010 by Éditions Quebecor. 2144, montée Monette Laval, QC, H7M 4T6 514-924-6471

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