My problem with schools and
education these days is the belief that kids have to be perfect in
everything. Parents come to me with worries about their child who
is behind in reading, math, coordination, or some aspect of their
progress. We are not perfect but we are going to raise a perfect
child. We spend a huge amount of time and money trying to advance
the child’s weaknesses and very little in improving their strengths.
For example, if the great artist like Michael Angelo were in our
schools at this time, they would not let him go to art class because
he was slow in reading and must have hours of special classes. Or a
great singer like Jennifer Lopez can’t go to voice lessons since she
can’t do algebra. That is why I am not for “no pass no play”. I
understand what it is trying to accomplish but keeping a young
person from learning a sport that will earn them more money than I
earn just because they are failing in a certain area does not seem
right. It is not worth banging away all day on their weaknesses and
harming their self-esteem when their weak areas just get better with
maturing, time, and development of their brains control over their
body. There is not an effective way to speed up maturity. There is
no physical therapy that will make an infant walk at 10 months old
who is not developed and will not walk until 15 months old. They
will improve with some therapy and the parents working with the
infant. But stressing them all day long will not make them walk any
sooner. Same with slow readers or clumsy second graders. We need
to work on their weak areas some but we need to work more on their
strengths in order to let them really blossom in the areas in which
they are talented.
I believe in speech therapy.
Kids who are late speaking clearly are common. The tongue is
the most delicate muscle of the whole body. The child walks
well long before he speaks clearly so the coordination of the tongue
is late developing. For example, when adults get inebriated, slurred
speech starts before staggering. Certain neurological
disorders will start with speech defects before other symptoms.
So just as some infants walk early and some walk late, there are
also some infants who will talk clearly early and some not until
6-10 years old. It is a neurological development in the
brain's control over the tongue muscle, and even though speech
therapy is important, it will not make them talk clear next month.
The therapy is great extra practice but going to a big city and
spending a fortune of money for a "better therapy" will not get them
there any sooner. Many kids do not speak clearly until 4 years
old and if people cannot understand what they are saying, then get
speech therapy then. Some special kids need speech therapy at
a much younger age. If everyone understands what they are saying at
4 but there are just some sounds not clear, then start speech
therapy in the schools at kindergarten.