My child has a speech problem…is it my fault?

An open letter to every parent who blames themselves for their child’s communication difficulties: Dear parent, Let’s just get this question out of the dark recesses of the back of your mother-guilt-ridden mind and out into the light. “My child has a speech problem…is it my fault?” I’ve seen way too many of you come to see me in clinic with your precious little person and as we finish up the assessment and I provide feedback of where your child is at and then we are just preparing a plan a solution, the tears start rolling down and then this phrase emerges from your grief stricken heart: “It’s my fault because…..” e.g. I knew something was wrong and I didn’t do something earlier, I work too much, I had post-natal depression, my genes are inherently flawed, I let him watch TV as a baby, I had to move him to escape an unhealthy relationship, I didn’t breastfeed her….feel free to insert your own guilt ridden thoughts here, as parents we all seem to have them. Well I want to tell you right now it’s NOT your fault. Unless of course your child has been personally neglected or abused by you, in which case you wouldn’t be the sort of parent who is desperate to help them develop the skills they need. You did the best you could with what you had at the time. No, it probably wasn’t perfect but no parenting is. Speech and language difficulties are not “caused” by any of the plethora of reasons I hear from parents blaming themselves every day. So, if you are blaming yourself for your child’s difficulties I just have two...