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Does Your Child Need Speech Therapy?

As parents, witnessing your child's developmental milestones is one of the most rewarding experiences. Each moment is precious, from their first crawl, steps, and words to their exploration of new foods, toys, and social interactions. Among these milestones, developing communication skills is crucial during the early years. Children progress at different rates in their speech sounds, receptive language (understanding language), and expressive language (using language), often called 'Communication Milestones.' When these milestones are not met as expected, it might be time to consult a speech pathologist.


Identifying the Need for Speech Therapy

The question, "Does my child need speech therapy?" is common among concerned parents, especially when routines resume with the start of a new year. When returning to school, daycare, or preschool, families often contemplate the best ways to support their child's success in educational settings.

But how can parents discern whether their child's development is typical or a cause for concern? Let's explore the key signs that indicate it might be time to seek advice from a speech pathologist.


  • Language regression involves a child losing previously acquired skills. For instance, a child who once babbled might become unusually quiet, or one who used multiple words may revert to just one or two. While brief regressions can be part of normal development, especially during significant changes (like moving house or starting daycare), persistent regression beyond three months warrants a consultation with a speech pathologist.



  • Children learn speech sounds at varying ages, from toddlerhood to ages 7-8. Early on, simplification of speech is typical. However, if your child's speech remains challenging to understand, they might need help from a speech pathologist to develop age-appropriate speech sounds.


  • Following directions requires listening, understanding, remembering, and executing the instructions. If your child struggles with following instructions at home or school, it may indicate difficulties in understanding language or issues with memory or attention. A speech pathologist can assess and address these receptive language challenges.


  • Many toddlers experience natural disfluencies around 18-24 months. If these disfluencies persist for more than a few weeks, it could indicate the onset of stuttering. Early intervention by a speech pathologist leads to better outcomes, so prompt action is advisable.


  • Social communication skills develop at different rates. If your child prefers solitary play, struggles with turn-taking or sharing, or has rigid play patterns, they might have social communication difficulties. A speech pathologist can help identify and address these issues to improve your child's social interactions.


  • Emergent literacy skills begin in toddlerhood, such as rhyming, listening to stories, and pretending to read. By kindergarten, difficulties with letter sounds, blending sounds, and writing may become apparent. In early primary years, challenges in spelling, organizing thoughts for writing, or using specific vocabulary can indicate the need for speech pathology support.


  • While children develop at their own pace, there are guidelines to determine if your child is 'on track' with their communication skills. If you are concerned about your child's speech and language development, resources are available to guide you in deciding whether to seek advice from a speech pathologist.


Conclusion

Deciding whether your child needs speech therapy can be challenging for dedicated parents. The team at A Growing Understanding is here to support you through this process. If you notice any of the above indicators, contact Speech Eat Learn to schedule a FREE consultation or a comprehensive evaluation to determine if your child would benefit from intervention services.



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