Here’s an interesting question. On the Afasic helpline recently, I’ve asked a couple of parents, ‘Does your child understand what you’re saying?’, only for them to reply, ‘Oh yes, he’s not stupid!’ Well, of course that wasn’t what I meant. Afasic, after all, is primarily about  specific speech and language impairments. Yet, there seems to be an almost instinctive tendency for people to associate comprehension and intelligence. Even the Equality Act guidance describes understanding language as a cognitive skill, while a speech difficulty is listed as a stand alone disorder. So why do we so frequently equate the two?  I think it is probably because we depend so much on understanding language to learn, that any difficulty with the former will inevitably impact on the latter, especially once children start school and cannot rely on visual cues in the way they do at home.

3 comments on “Just because he doesn’t understand, it doesn’t mean he’s stupid!

  1. I used almost the same words at one of my son’s annual reviews, many years ago when the school and the LEA were trying to justify my son’s lack of progress due to his ‘learning difficulties’.. my point was he has the ability to learn if he is taught in the right way.. didn’t go down well with his teacher..

  2. Well Said – I think the parents arent the problem , we get defensive because of the rest of the people we deal with on a day to day basis who do think our kids are stupid because of the communication difficulties – speech equals “intelligence” in their eyes – I have spent 10 yrs battling the education system and continue to do so till he leaves – it doesnt get any easier – every year you have to start all over again opening the eyes of the new TA to the potential rather than their misperceptions!

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