Articulation difficulties, waiting for therapy to start

A parent of a child experiencing articulation difficulties sent me the following question:

I recently took my 4-yr-old daughter for an initial speech evaluation with the school board. They verified she needs services, but it will be months before they can get her in for a second evaluation. Then she still needs the 2nd evaluation and a staffing meeting before we actually start therapy sessions. She has major articulation problems, and no one outside the immediate family understands most of what she says. English was not her first language, although her vocabulary is incredible in English, and she follows directions well.

What can we do while we wait for therapy? Are there specific books you recommend, or do I just check out "everything" related to speech therapy in our local library? I read that you don't recommend the do-it-yourself approach, but isn't working on one sound while we are waiting better than nothing? Or do you think we'll make things worse by trying to help her? I have to admit we already were correcting her on one letter, because she sounded like she was saying something bad/inappropriate, and I didn't want her to start preschool school like that. I'm a seasoned educator with NO background in speech therapy. Thank you.

Robert's response:

Actually, my objection to do-it-yourself therapy has more to do with parents who try to address the problem themselves instead of consulting an expert, and that's clearly not what you're doing. You've taken her for an evaluation, but you've fallen victim to the universal shortage of qualified speech-language pathologists.

Since I haven't met your daughter, I can't provide specific suggestions for home activities. My first recommendation would be to talk to the person who did the initial evaluation and ask for suggestions of possible activities.

If for some reason that is not a possibility, see if you can privately set up a consultation session with a speech therapist from the school district you work for. She should be able to demonstrate a few simple and effective activities you can do with your daughter while you wait for the second stage of the evaluation process. If you choose this route, do offer to pay a reasonable consultation fee. I realize money doesn't grow on trees, but you'll probably get better suggestions if you are willing to pay for the service.

I hope this is helpful. Best of luck to you and your daughter.

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