As a parent, I continuously learn from my children. One lesson that has become clear to me over my short eight years of parenthood is that each child is different. Both my children share the same gene pool and have very similar family experiences, but they are very different people.
My daughter baffled us with her robust language skills and her careful way of explaining herself. I remember hearing her gently sing the alphabet song from her crib while she patiently waited for us to scoop her up. Every day she reached for the pile of books strewn across the floor and she sat while we read, read, and read some more. She spoke early and she spoke often. We tallied the number of words she said and high-fived ourselves for our expert parenting skills.
I watched as the children around me spoke full sentences while my son tried his hardest to communicate his needs.
When my son came along, we were confident he would follow the same path. I sat in the backseat of the car and read to him on the way home from the hospital. We continued to read to him, sing Mother Goose songs, and talk to him. We tried our best to set him up for success.
By the age of two, he spoke only a handful of words. I watched as the children around me spoke full sentences while my son tried his hardest to communicate his needs. His frustration grew. He cried. I cried. My husband and I looked at each other, mystified. What was our son trying to say?
Everything I knew about child development pointed to his needs loud and clear. My son needed intervention. I looked to my friends for advice and they pointed me in the direction of USC’s Speech and Hearing Department.
Within a week of speech intervention at USC, my son began to grow his word bank and by the end of the first semester, he spoke in short, full sentences. Intervention was key for him, and without the help of the speech pathologist, he would be miles behind.
My journey lead me down a path uncovering local resources that were fundamental to my son’s success. The first step in this yearlong trek was asking for advice from my parent community. After all, they are experts trying to wade the waters of parenthood.
What I found out is that Columbia has several organizations committed to helping your child with language development, reading, and much more.
USC’s Speech and Hearing trained professionals have the knowledge and experience to identify and treat language, speech, and emergent literacy skills which serve as the foundation for later reading and writing development.
The South Carolina Assistive Technology Program (SCATP) uses technology devices and services to help people with disabilities live, work and learn more independently.
BabyNet matches the special needs of infants and toddlers who have developmental delays with the professional resources available within the community.
Family Connection of South Carolina has a long history of providing parent-to-parent support to families of children with disabilities or special healthcare needs.
The Dyslexia Resource Center's mission is to help beginning and struggling readers by raising awareness of dyslexia; offering affordable and accessible direct services; and training educators in evidenced-based reading instruction.
Check your local school district for Speech Intervention programs provided by the schools.
The Education Studio offers a variety of programs for parents and children facing reading obstacles. There is also a carefully-curated collection of books and materials that support learning through a multisensory approach.
Questions? Find me in the Education Studio at Richland Library Main or give me a call at 929-3434. I'm happy to help.
Education Studio Reading Specialist