Your Child is Starting Preschool

The preschool years are important in the development of speech and language abilities as well as your child’s social skills development. Having opportunities to be in language-rich environments can be especially helpful to children who may be facing challenges associated with communication. For a child with a cleft lip and palate or other difference affecting speech, attempts to communicate, especially with new people, may be frustrating.

Dealing with this challenge as early as possible by providing the child with learning opportunities, such as preschool, can be very beneficial.  It is especially valuable for children to be in preschool settings with children who are developing normally so that they have positive models for communication and social skills.

Ideally, any special services to promote speech or other areas of development should occur in the settings where the child would be spending time if he or she didn’t have a special need.  Seek out speech language therapy that can occur in natural settings such as a regular preschool or in your home.  Make sure that those involved in providing special services to your child involve you as your child’s first teacher and anyone else who can help support the therapy on an ongoing basis.

Beware of special services that pull your child out of regular activities.  It is usually best to integrate therapy as a part of what the child is already doing so that it can be reinforced naturally and does not make the child feel more unusual than necessary.

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