How to Engage Severely Delayed Preschoolers

Having weathered the travails of more than one job search in my capacity as a SLPA, I can say one thing for certain: very few people want to work with preschoolers.  One of the first questions the district officials and agency head-hunters always ask is, “Are you willing to work in preschool?” If your answer is “yes,” you will be employed in a matter of days.  Not being one to balk at a challenge, I decided to take a job working with preschoolers. However, these were not just preschoolers with your run-of-the-mill articulation and language delays. They were the most severely delayed due to autism, ID and Down Syndrome. Furthermore, they were socially disadvantaged preschoolers attending public school in the most blighted areas of Compton, California. With a bit of trepidation and much hubris, I spent a year commuting two hours from my home in Pomona to Compton, falling in love with the most precious bunch of 3-year-olds imaginable and making many mistakes which, in turn, led to many discoveries.

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