THAT kid…

  • The one who uses pictures for communication.
  • The one with a stutter so severe that his words get blocked and nothing comes out.
  • The one who takes longer to process what you said.
  • The one who can’t find the words in her brain but knows exactly what she wants to say.
  • The one who has a huge vocabulary but their mouth just doesn’t spit it out right.
  • The one who didn’t understand what you said.
  • The one who is terrified that their words won’t come out perfectly.
  • The one who doesn’t look you in the eye or respond to your questions.

THAT kid has something to say.

THAT kid is not defined by their speech and language skills or impairment.

THAT kid’s IQ is not determined by their communication skills.

THAT kid has a right to more time, more understanding, and to a life of successful communication.

THAT kid might be receiving intensive speech pathology services to enable their communication skills to flourish.

As a Speech Pathologist, I see “THAT kid” day in and day out, and often they are suffering inside. Their day is filled with fear of speaking, fear of being laughed at, jealousy, frustration, anger, confusion and more. We can’t see these internal struggles that they are going through.

So next time you speak to “THAT kid,” stop labelling them as slow, annoying or inept, because they are just a kid. Get down on their level, give them more time, smile kindly, acknowledge their efforts and treat all kids with respect.

Does your child struggle with their communication skills or see a Speech Pathologist? What do you wish you could say to people who don’t understand the challenges your child faces every day?

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  • I work with special needs children and have a few non verbal children that i work with. Each one of them is different and have their own little facial expressions and physical actions that let me know how they are feeling. They really are awesome people.


  • i wouldn’t judge anybody. that is rude. Most people are concerned with their own situation so probably not really being too judgy of others :) Great reminder though!


  • In USA children with ASD/ Autism are diagnosed as young as 2 years old and start short sessions of speech therapy. (I know of one) At a later stage they may speak clearly but not in full sentences, but enough that you know what they are saying. Not being able to communicate makes it extremely difficult to find the problem. Drs. definitely need to be extremely well trained as the parent often has very little / no idea what the issue may be. Frustration is the biggest cause of behavioural problems with many of the children, simply because they can’t communicate. Some seem to be prone to earaches / infections. One child they eliminated dairy from his diet and he had very few earaches after that. It may actually be that the dairy was an allergy which triggered the earaches where others show definite hayfever symptoms. I myself have a similar ear problem caused mainly by pollens.

    • Thanks for sharing your insights june11 – children with a diagnosis of ASD definitely present with many of these traits.


  • My son did have mild speech problems when he first started school. He had a couple of speech therapy sessions and was all good after


  • My son struggled, I could not afford speech therapy back in the day (he is 24yo now), and did it all myself. He was considered high functioning autistic, but now most find him extremely easy to talk to (still quirky), but has a wonderful vocab


  • Hard for all kids with speech and language difficulties but when they don’t get the help they need it is awful to see these kids once they get to highschool and are sadly written off as being not very bright when many in fact are quite bright and just can’t convey it.


  • I would say people need to mind their own business. We should always be kind to others and we don’t know of others’ struggles.


  • My first thought when reading this was a child with autism – my child. Whilst he doesn’t relate to all of the points above, we have experienced a few of them. He is an awesome child who has so much to offer. He just needs time, patience, and a little extra assistance.


  • sadly it doesn’t jus happen to kids too.


  • This problem can be found in people of all ages – we should always be tolerant and accepting of others and not put them down – being friendly with those with a speech impairment helps no end, not matter what age.


  • I know a lady who has trouble communicating and sometimes has to really think about an answer before she speaks to you. She went for counselling for awhile and improved but every while she needs a little help and encouragement. It eventually came out that her Mum took the attitude “speak when YOU are spoken to” It has damaged the lady’s realtionship with relatives and friends before the reason was discovered.

    • Poor her, glad this attitude has changed!


  • Everyone should read this!


  • Early intervention work by Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists has an enormous impact on the educational and social outcomes of children.


  • As with PaulaR83 my little girl also has childhood apraxia of speech. She is now 6 almost 7 and doctors etc refused to believe she had a speech problem so was not diagnosed until 5 years of age. Intensive speech therapy and a lot of patience has helped her go from non verbal to speaking small sentences. Her teachers in prep and now grade 1 have been wonderful in helping her, and they go down to her level. She also has pictures to help when she’s struggling at school. I wish other parents would stop comparing their children to her, saying things like “oh they just grow out of it” or “it’s not a big problem”. Is very sad and no amount of explaining CAS seems to sink in. My daughter is highly intelligent and is at the top of her class. It makes you cry when others just don’t understand.


  • This is a great story but its not just kids. Anyone who may have trouble communicating just need that little bit of patience and understanding. It doesn’t take much to take a few minutes of your time to help others which makes them feel good inside.


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