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Does speech have an effect on dyslexia and reading skills?

So many times I have had parents come to me saying that their child's school will not work on their speech skills because the child can be understood. Is that the only reason to work on speech skills? Are there other academic skills that speech affects?

Think about trying to sound out a word to spell it. If you can't say the wounds correctly, will you spell the words correctly?

Imagine you are a child who struggles with making the two /th/ sounds. When you say them quickly, it sounds like /f/ or /v/. So when you go to spell a word like thud, you will spell it fud because that is what it sounds like to you. Your speech struggles with the /th/ sound causes misspellings.

Here is a great graphic that shows how so many individual skills are linked together when it comes to the act of reading and spelling.

Learning to read and spell is hard enough without a child also having to compensate for a speech difficulty.

When I am working individually with clients and I come across a speech difficulty, I take the time to bring it to their attention. Many times parents will ask why I am pointing it out to the child. But, if a child can recognize that they say certain sounds incorrectly, they can either work to fix them independently or be aware of the potential misspellings due to their speech difficulties.

One client in particular, would ask me to repeat words he needed to spell, while watching my mouth closely for that one sound. He knew he couldn't trust his own speech, but that my mouth patterns would give him the clue to the sound he needed. See, we look at and discuss what our mouths do as we learn each new sound. This helps them know what each sound should look like, feel like, and sound like.

So, does speech have an affect on dyslexia and reading skills? It definitely can and should be discussed when concerns arise.

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