I have been meaning to write about speech therapy for a long time already but never got around to it. A recent acquaintance mentioned that both her children have difficulty with pronouncing the same sound, and I shared with her our journey in speech therapy, so I hope this post will be useful to more parents.
The middle boy is now in Primary 1. 4 years ago, I was a little concerned about his articulation. My eldest boy has always been very articulate from very young (and won’t stop talking now!), and I know that every child is different, but I also believe in early intervention, as well as consulting professionals (not just Google). It was minor enough that my husband didn’t think it was much of a problem. We are also fortunate that in Singapore, medical expertise is highly accessible. Although the concern was rather minor, since the son was already a patient at NUH, I asked the cardiologist for a referral to the Department of Rehabilitation. Actually I also felt that he has a slight squint, so some time later I bothered the cardiologist for a referral for that too.
So when he was at the end of N2 (or was it early K1?), we went for a walk-in speech therapy screening session. On a designated day and time of the week, NUH dedicates therapists to screen patients to assess the concern and whether speech therapy is actually required. This was some 4 years ago, so the procedure might have changed, please do check with the hospital for more updated information.
I can’t remember if our first session was the screening, or if it was the subsequent session, but it was all very interesting for me. The speech therapist engages the child with games and toys; my son had no idea what he was being assessed for. He even asked to go back again one day to play! The speech therapist will assess whether the problem, if at all, is a physical issue, or otherwise. Best of all, it put my mind at ease, gave me some pointers to reinforce and look out for, and I paid something like less than S$15 since he is a subsidised patient. The BabyBonus CDA accounts will cover all of such costs, so I felt like it was the best money spent!
We subsequently went back for several sessions over the years, with the last one at the end of K2. Perhaps he has grown out of his issues, or perhaps the speech therapy really worked. At the very least, I felt more reassured given that I had sought some professional advice.
If you do have a speech concern, for example lisping, a problem with pronouncing a particular letter or blend, even if it is a minor issue, you might like to consider consulting a speech therapist. There are many private clinics you can go to, and there are also speech therapists available at both NUH and KKH which cater specifically to children. You can also find out more about speech therapy in general in Singapore, from the Speech-Language and Hearing Association Singapore webpage.