Between technology glitches and social awkwardness, remote learning can be really challenging. But for children with speech difficulties, it can be even harder. For example, teachers may confuse stuttering with spotty WIFI or cut children off if they take too long to formulate their thoughts before speaking. And children with language disorders may miss cues from the teacher that normally occur in person and can help with comprehension.

Remote learning tips for children with speech difficulties

Fortunately, there are some ways to help children with speech difficulties participate in remote learning. Here are some suggestions for how to help:

  • Reach out to teachers so they know about your child’s speech difficulty. Use this as an opportunity to work out support strategies to help your child, such as allowing extra time to formulate their thoughts and say what they need to say.
  • If your student prefers not to speak publicly, work with their teacher to find alternate ways of participating, like turning the camera off or interacting with smaller groups in breakout rooms.
  • Work with your child to create a script to use if they don’t understand, such as, “Sorry, I didn’t understand what you said. Can you please repeat that?”
  • Make sure your child has a learning area that is well lit, quiet, comfortable and free of distractions.
  • Incorporate movement breaks to minimize screen fatigue and maintain attention.
  • Organize virtual play dates for your child so he or she can interact with other children and practice language and communication skills. Older kids may enjoy playing video games with friends while chatting online.

If you’re experiencing specific problems that can’t be addressed with the tips above, talk to your child’s speech-language pathologist about the challenges and work together to create ways for tackling them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tommie RobinsonTommie L. Robinson Jr., PhD, CCC-SLP, is the Division Chief of Hearing and Speech at Children's National. Dr. Robinson has been with Children's National for more than 28 years and is also the Director of the Scottish Rite Center for Childhood Language Disorders in Adams Morgan in Washington, DC.

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