A child that has trouble with their literacy skills may also have a speech and/or language delay or disorder.  When a child is struggling to say a certain sound or sounds, they may also have trouble sounding the correct letter out because they are associating an incorrect sound with the letter. This at times is due to a phonological process issue like fronting where the child is using a /t/ or /d/ sound for the /k/ or /g/ in every opportunity. Another example of a phonological process is backing. This is where a child uses the /k/ and /g/ sound for the /t/ and /d/ sound in every opportunity. These phonological processes are developmentally appropriate for young children but if they continue around the age that a child is learning to read, it may cause confusion.

In an article from the American Speech and Hearing Association called “Learning about Literacy: SLPs Play Key Role in Reading and Writing,” the author says; “When children have problems acquiring language, they are at high risk for difficulty in learning to read and write, and to listen and speak. Across the profession, SLPs are asking questions about how to make our services relevant to clients’ functional communication needs. Literacy is perhaps the most important factor contributing to academic and economic success and plays an important role in social interactions. The author of the article, Mary Spracher, also says that the “SLPs’ knowledge base about language development and acquisition, combined with skill in using diagnostic-prescriptive approaches to assessment and intervention, is particularly valuable in educational contexts.”

It is important to assess a child’s speech and language skills anytime a child is struggling with reading even if there are not obvious concerns. A speech and language assessment will not only rule out any additional concerns but may also help a child’s phonemic awareness skills and overall reading skills if therapy is recommended.

Ally Hemphill M.S. CCC-SLP

Source: “Learning about Literacy: SLPs Play Key Role in Reading and Writing” on the American Speech and Hearing Association Website

Author: Mary M. Spracher