One of the services that many decline for NVLD children is speech therapy as often other challenges are more noticeable so they get addressed first. Due to their strong vocabulary and reading abilities their team believes they can go without speech services even though NVLD students often don’t have age appropriate understanding of certain words and messages. In addition,the inappropriate social and communication skills associated with NVLD many do not show up until later in the educational years. The truth is by not including speech therapy on their IEP, students with an NVLD miss out on making great strides in their communication skills.
Improving one’s ability to speak clearly is not the only part of the puzzle that speech therapists work on. For example a speech therapist may help a student learn the use of eye contact, how to have appropriate conversation, how to control emotions, and appropriate use of vocabulary while speaking. Since a person with NVLD often experiences deficits in these areas receiving speech can help them a great deal to overcome their disability.
One of the first reasons the need for speech services is misunderstood is that NVLD students respond to structure quite well so their language and communication deficits aren’t as clear until their later years unlike their fine and gross motor skills deficits which show up right away. Therefore the need for speech isn’t totally clear unless they have oral motor deficits too. This can complicate things because as these students grow and mature understanding the material and social clues becomes harder and harder. Therefore not getting speech services in their younger years they miss out on its benefits.
For me personally while I was always in speech it wasn’t until middle school when I received the most appropriate program for myself. Some important skills I learned were how to have an appropriate conversation, improved understanding of content and vocabulary by reading out loud, use of eye contact, and better control of my emotions. These lessons also helped improve my articulation difficulties as I was expected to speak as clearly as possible. I know personally I am eternally grateful for how my speech therapist always did what was best for me. Yes it was hard at times though I now realize I gained more social and communication skills than many believed I could through individual speech services. My speech therapist truly set a great example of why speech therapy is especially important for us.
Overall, while there is no right or wrong decision, it’s important to look at all the deficits that need to be worked on. I am no expert though through my own experiences, those who covered all pieces of the puzzle like myself have higher success rates. It can be as simple as only having speech once a week early on then later when the pragmatic language difficulties become more noticeable you increase services. In today’s world proper social and communication are vital for success.
I will always love Patty Bell my teenage year’s Speech Therapist as she taught me so much and is an incredible friend and support to me now!Share your own story