As of late I have been thinking about the special needs children whom I taught in a new light. I have a Traumatic Brain Injury and have had it for about two years now but the kiddos I worked with will have their disabilities their entire lives. Today, because of this prompt I am reflecting upon the children that will never have clear speech. The ones that most did not understand. How frustrating it must be for them to go through life with slurred or intelligible speech. For me, my being able to understand them improved with time as I learned to tune my ear to their format of speech. Yet, even then in a group setting or when attempting to grade their performance in reading I often struggled. So, with that in mind today I am going to help all who need to understand someone with a slur. We are going to use the word to make an acronym to help you when you speak to anyone including those with a stroke etc.
The SLUR Strategy:
S – Stop and really try to hear what they’re saying.
L – Look at them as they speak. Watch the motion of their lips as well their body language. Body language can relate a lot.
U – Understand that with time you will know what they are trying to communicate better. You need to know that it may not be easy for either of you but practice makes perfect. If you get impatient calm down and keep trying. It will be worth it in the end.
R – Rephrase what they have said and ask them if you are remembering what they said correctly. “I think I heard you say that you need a glass of water. Is that correct?” Take responsibility for understanding onto yourself and do not blame them if you cannot understand them. They cannot help how they are able to communicate. It is not to blame but to understand.
Slurred speech can be frustrating to anyone. But the children I taught always did their best to help me understand what they wanted to say. I am thankful that my disability does not hinder my communication skills. I am also thankful that God has blessed me with having been able to work with people who did. I will always cherish them.
God bless us everyone.