So the question is this, what’s a better investment sports lessons or speech therapy?
If speech therapy is needed, the answer is obvious, or is it? Some parents take a wait and see approach to speech issues hoping that their child will grow out of it. This happens often even though some speech and language issues do not improve over time without speech therapy. In that case, early intervention is typically the best path. Let’s explore the question posed.
It takes an amazing amount of coordination to play soccer, baseball, basketball, football, tennis, golf, gymnastics, hockey, cheerleading, dance etc.
It also takes an amazing amount of coordination to talk. Take a moment and say a few letters A, B, C…. and notice all of the movements of your articulators (lips, tongue, jaws, etc.). Then think about all the coordination that is needed between your brain and the muscles that control the articulators to move from one sound to another to say a word or a sentence. Go ahead and say a sentence and consciously notice the articulation gymnastics required. Pretty impressive, huh? People take this for granted because most people learn to talk with little difficulty, however for some communicating is a challenge.
The same can be true of athletic coordination. Some come by it naturally while others do not and fall behind. When this happens many parents happily spend hundreds even thousands of dollars on private baseball hitting or pitching instructors, gymnastic coaches, golf pros, basketball shooting or ball handling coaches, speed and agility trainers, etc. They want their kids to excel. They want their kids to build self-esteem through their athletic accomplishments. They want their kids to be accepted on a team where they can build practical social skills and maybe even leadership skills. These are all worthy pursuits.
Some parents take it a step further, they “invest” their money in sports training in hopes of getting their child a college scholarship and maybe a pro contract. This type of thinking is often misguided see the college scholarship stats below.
What does an investment in a speech therapy coach provide a child who has a speech and language disorder:
An increased ability to express thoughts, ideas and emotions.
An increased ability to comprehend others thoughts, ideas and emotions.
An increased ability to speak intelligibly, so others can understand your child.
An increased ability to problem solve independently.
A better chance to succeed in school early and advance to college.
A better chance to be accepted by other kids socially.
More confidence and greater self-esteem.
A better quality of life.
Only 3-6% of high school athletes will compete at the college level (see stats below) and an even smaller percentage of those athletes will play at any level professionally. So 94 to 97% of sports careers are over by 14 to 18 years of age. So an investment in academics, social self confidence and communication skills is arguably a much better long term investment.
The Kidmunication Point
If you suspect that your child has an issue with speech or language, get a screening. If an issue is identified invest the time and money needed to get a comprehensive evaluation. If the issue is diagnosed, then find the right speech and language coach who will 1) set appropriate and achievable goals, 2) outline a plan to achieve those goals, 3) teach the proper techniques, 4) demand practice at home and 5) build their confidence. Just like an athletic coach.
As promised, here are some statistics regarding college scholarships that you may not know: