Does My Child Need Speech Therapy?
Proud parents may gush over their two year old’s baby talk, but if they are still using the same mispronunciations when they are four or five years old, something is probably off. It might be time to ask: does my child need speech therapy? The earlier your child is evaluated, the easier it will be to correct the speech-language problem.
How Speech And Language Disorders Are Evaluated And Diagnosed
A speech-language pathologist (SLP) will perform a series of tests to evaluate the following:
- Your child’s receptive language or what they understand
- Your child’s expressive language or what your child can say
- Their sound development or how clearly they speak
- Their oral-motor skills like how their mouth, tongue, and palate work together not only for speech but also for swallowing and eating
How Speech Therapy Helps Children
Speech involves proper pronunciation and articulation of words, voice, and fluency. Your child must possess all three to effectively communicate with others. There is no absolute timetable for how a child develops speech and language, but there are some guidelines that might help parents in making a decision to investigate a speech-language assessment.
Let’s look at some signposts to consider speech therapy.
Number of words
If your child only uses 20 words or less by the time they are 18 months old and less than 50 by the time they reach age 2.
By the time children are 2, most understand more than 300 words. If your child doesn’t understand simple sentences like, “drink your juice,” it may be time to begin speech therapy.
Number of sounds
If your child only uses a few sounds to say all words.
In social situations
If your child does not talk much when around other people.
If your child cannot speak clearly by age 2 and is not able to combine different words together.
When To See A Pediatric Speech Therapist For Stuttering
What do James Earl Jones, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Willis, and Carly Simon have in common? They are among many famous and influential people who stuttered during their lifetime. If you are a parent with a stuttering child, you may be faced with the dilemma of when to see a pediatric speech therapist for stuttering.
FAQs And Conflicting Advice
You might be wondering if those celebrities mentioned above had speech therapy as a child or later on in life, or did they just grow out of it. Maybe you have heard this advice from friends or relatives about your own child. “Give it time,” they say. The child is yours, so it’s your decision.
Stuttering, sometimes known as stammering, is a communication disorder in which one’s speech is broken up with repetitions. There may also be unusual stoppages plus facial or body movements like tics.
- More than 70 million people worldwide stutter and there are 3 million Americans who stutter.
- Stuttering affects four times as many males as females.
- 5% of children go through a period of stuttering that lasts 6 months or more.
- 75% will recover while 1% have long lasting issues.
- The exact cause of stuttering is unknown.
When To Seek Help From A Pediatric Speech Therapist
A speech and language pathologist or therapist is a professional who will assess your child on an individual basis and give advice about ways to manage the speech problems. The goal is to concentrate on a healthy attitude about speech and reduce the severity and frequency of the stuttering.
Many children who don’t get help at an early age become adult stutterers.
If parents notice that their child’s stutter lasts longer than 6 months, or if the stutter begins after the age of three and a half, they should engage a pediatric speech therapist.