While there are no studies to show how many children have Specific Language Disorder (TEL) in Peru, therapists’ offices receive at least one child with this characteristic every day.
This is confirmed by Adriana Bernal, speech therapist, who in conversations with The Republic pointed out that the cases that she usually attends are derived from the different schools in Lima, but not precisely with a diagnosis of TEL.
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“Yes, they are derived from schools, but not as TEL, but because the teachers realize that they are not pronouncing the words well or because the parents themselves realize that the little one has something (…) One in five children who I attend has TEL ”, he declared.
According to the last school census carried out in 2017, in the country there are 59,385 students with special educational needs associated with hearing, intellectual or physical disabilities; blindness, ASD, low vision, among others. Of these, 14,721 have had to go to private educational institutions.
In this regard, the Ministry of Education sought that the so-called ‘inclusive education’; however, this has been focused on children with Down syndrome, Autism, Hyperactivity Disorder or some physical disability. Thus it is relegated, unintentionally, to the Specific Disorder of Language.
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Andrea Zumaran, speech therapist at the Service of Counseling and Attention to Special Educational Needs (SAANEE) of the State, confirmed that indeed it is necessary that in the diverse schools of the country a department of speech therapy or learning is included; Well, although the state has a Center for Special Basic Education (CEBE), this focuses on children with other impairments, but not specifically on SLI.
“A speech therapy program could be included, for example, in other countries like Spain, there is. There it is called Globopedia (…) Here I know that some private schools are already including them « , commented the specialist.
This opinion coincides with what was narrated by Natalia, a young mother of a family who lives in Piura and who has had to adapt her life, after a renowned neuropediatrician diagnosed her son with Specific Language Disorder. According to what she says, when she realized that her little one at 3 years old did not talk much, as a new mother and guided by the advice of other mothers with much more experience, she thought it was only a matter of a stage, until the little one He attended school and the teachers noticed a different behavior in him.
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“I had to take him to a neuropediatrician because the teacher told me that my son did not communicate with the other children. At the age of 3, they did an evaluation and diagnosed him with mixed TDH and SLI, ”he said.
From that day on, his way of life changed radically, because his son needed the teaching modality for him to be somewhat different in order for him to understand and understand what he is being taught.
« I had to make the teachers go to give them guidelines and written reports from the therapist so that in this way they help me teach him correctly and he can have an education like a regular child, » said the young mother.
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She also reiterated that the school, although it has agreed to support her with the education of the minor, she considers that there should be specialists in the study centers so that the classes can be complemented with more therapies.
Now, what happens to children who suffer from SLI and have to engage in virtual education? Natalia expresses that her child has had a hard time adapting to online teaching and during class hours she has to be with him perennially in order to reinforce, at the same time, what the teachers explain.
“Practically, I ended up being like an auxiliary to the miss. While she explains something, I am next to my child repeating what the teacher says. If they see that he understands, because they run with the other issues and sometimes it is complicated, but I do it because in the end he is my son (…), but I have realized that my child is learning more during the pandemic, « he stressed .
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It should be noted that in recent years and given the increase in cases of TEL Some private schools that usually charge high pensions are those that have included language specialists in their services.