Speech and Language Difficulties in Tweens

Does your preteen have trouble expressing himself? Be forewarned. Speech and language difficulties can play havoc with a child’s self esteem.

For kids, there’s nothing quite like friendship, but during the preteen years, peers take on a whole new level of importance. Since communication is so much a part of these friendships, it’s important that our kids learn to clearly express themselves to others.

Speech and language pathologist, Donna Seedorf-Harmouth agrees that children’s ability to communicate with their peers can have a big impact on how they feel about themselves. “Communication is central to interpersonal relationships and it’s through other people’s judgment of us that we build our own self esteem. For a youth, how other people see them, their family and peers, is so critical to them. Without the communication ability to enrich all of those relationships, it can have a dramatic impact on them.”

By the preteen years of 9 to 12 years of age, it’s uncommon for children to have speech or language difficulties. Still some do experience impediments such as stuttering, or trouble forming certain sounds. If this is the case with your child, it should be looked into for the sake of her emotional well being. Seedorf-Harmouth adds that language difficulties can also play havoc with a child’s education “because language and communication is required for learning, (so) they can get behind in that realm, as well as in social relationships.”

Seedorf-Harmouth says that poor speech and language skills “impact strongly on a child’s self esteem to the point that some children can even become concerned about their life goals, what they can be in life, who they can associate with. Of course this can lead to all kinds of emotional difficulties for children.”

So if you’re concerned about speech and language difficulties, no matter what age or grade your child is in, have him assessed. It could result in your child having a more positive self image.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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