A friend who knows that I am an advocate for child speech therapy e-mailed me the compelling letter to the editor from Michael Niemeyer of Westerly that titled “Tell legislators early intervention needs help.” Mr. Niemeyer made the strong argument for more funding and attention for the Early Intervention program, as special needs children need a variety of therapies, such as physical therapy and speech therapy. I thought that his statement of how a society treats its most vulnerable was powerful. If I may, I would like to point out something in terms of therapy for children which may interest Sun readers.
Parents of children with speech issues should know that every child in the U.S. has the right to FREE speech therapy due to federal legislation passed 43 years ago. The free therapy can begin in preschool and run throughout the high school years. It covers all the types of speech problems. A brochure titled “Special Education Law and Children Who Stutter” is available for download on the website of the Stuttering Foundation (www.stutteringhelp.org), a site which has great resources for children and adults who stutter. Again, the free speech therapy encompasses all speech problems, and not just stuttering. If more parents knew about this amazing benefit of free speech therapy, then more children could be helped.
It is saddening that in the last 12 years while the topic of national health care policy has been prominent in the news that no media outlet ever once mentioned this amazing benefit of free speech therapy. The U.S. has the best policy in the world for children with the speech problems, even better than some nations with well-known socialized medicine policies. There are so many different speech problems that plague the lives of children. Kids need this free speech therapy.