“YOU SAID IT! Say MOTH-ERR!”
He said, “moth-ER,” hardly blinking.
“Say ERR ERR ERR!”
“ER-ER- ER.” He barely smiled at me, but his eyes
“How do you feel?! You did it! What’s it like?!” I
“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
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.
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
Brandon reviewing sounds with Ms. Knapp.