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One in five Americans have suffered from hearing loss in one or both ears. A pediatric speech therapist can sometimes help those with hearing loss learn to communicate better, especially if the condition is addressed early.

If your child is starting speech therapy for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect. You may be unsure how to approach the subject with your child. While you may feel alone on this journey, you aren’t the first parent who’s gone through this and your pediatric speech therapists are there to help you and your child.

The following are some common questions parents often have about child speech therapy.

How do I talk about speech therapy with my child?

With your child starting speech therapy soon, they may be feeling curious about what to expect. They may be feeling anxious or worried. As a parent, how can you talk to your child about speech therapy to help them understand and feel better about it?

To help your child understand speech therapy, try letting them know that communication is a special skill — just like dancing, cooking, or drawing. And just like children take special classes to learn how to draw, cook, or dance, your child is going to learn to communicate well by working with pediatric speech therapists.

If you like, you could speak with your speech therapy service and request to join your child for their first session. Just visiting the setting where the sessions will take place with your child beforehand can help them feel better about it. It will also give you a chance to assess the area and make sure you feel comfortable sending your child there.

Finally, you should ask the speech therapist to explain to you how the therapy sessions will be conducted and what techniques will be used. This way you can effectively talk to your child about them.

How can I help my anxious child feel better about speech therapy?

Anxiety around starting speech therapy isn’t uncommon. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help reassure your child.

First of all, make a point of meeting the pediatric speech therapists who will be working with your child. It can be reassuring to children when their parents know their teachers and it can help reassure you as well.

It may help your child to tell them that there are lots of kids all around the world who undergo speech therapy. In fact, there are over a million children in the United States alone who use some form of speech therapy. Help them realize that they aren’t weird and that speech therapy is normal.

What if my child is made fun of for being in speech therapy?

Unfortunately, some children get teased in school because of communication difficulties or disorders. While this can be heartbreaking for parents, it’s important to recognize that starting speech therapy could be the single best way to avoid the problem. By improving your child’s communication skills, they can acquire the confidence they need to thrive in school and hold their own in social settings.

If you’re concerned that your child is being bullied in school, you should speak with your school administration at once to make sure it stops happening.

How long will my child need speech therapy?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The amount of time your child needs in speech therapy will depend on what type of speech disorder they have. Additional health or behavioral concerns could also come into play. However, your child’s pediatric speech therapists should be able to give you a customized plan for your child’s therapy, including an estimated end date. Your child may only need therapy for a few months or they may do best by continuing occasional therapy for a year or more.

If you like, it can be helpful to keep a notebook or folder with your child’s speech therapy information. This can include goals, milestones, and other things related to your child’s progress. You can also use it to write down questions you need to ask your child’s therapist.

Getting speech therapy can seem like a daunting prospect, both for you and your child. But it will also set them up for more and greater success, both in school and life.