When Should You Contact a Speech and Language Therapist?
This is something that we get asked regularly. When should I be concerned about my child? Should I arrange an assessment? He is not talking as much as his sister when she was that age, will he catch up naturally? I can understand my child, but others can't, what should I do? My child did talk but has stopped, who should I contact? My child can't say her /r/ sounds, she's 4 years old, should I be worried?
These are all examples of common questions and concerns. However, to answer these questions, there are a number of key nuggets of information that you should be aware of and take into consideration.
But first, it's important to describe what Speech and Language Therapists actually do!! The list below will outline the key areas that we are trained to work on:
Speech sound disorders - phonological speech disorders and apraxia of speech
Speech sound delay
Receptive language disorders - (understanding language)
Expressive language disorders - (using language)
Difficulties with social skills - linked to social anxiety and flexibility in social situations.
Cleft lip and/or palate
Feeding, Eating and Swallowing disorders (FEDS or Dysphagia).
Communication Disorders - with children and adults.
Dysarthria - motor speech disorders
Acquired brain injuries
Cognitive and Language difficulties associated with Acquired Progressive Neurological Conditions - e.g. Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Dementia, Motor Neuron Disease.
Here at The Speech Sound Clinic, we primarily work with children who present with an array of the above difficulties.
Now that you have an idea of the different areas that we are trained to treat, here is some more information that you can take into consideration before looking for a speech therapist:
All children develop speech and language at different rates. So it might not be productive to compare siblings or children against each other.
As children's language skills develop, they meet different milestone's at different ages, see the helpful table from the speechbuddies inc on key milestones:
3. Children acquire different speech sounds at different times, for example, early developing sounds include /m/, /b/, /d/, /g/, /k/, while later developing sounds include /l/ and /r/. These might not develop until 6 or 7 years old.
Children typically make errors while saying words, but these naturally resolve during specific time frames. If I child is persisting with a speech error, then you should contact your speech and language therapist.
4. Some children can take their time when they start talking, while others are saying full sentences by the age of 3!! But if you're child is not acquiring new words by 30 months, there are lots simple strategies that your speech therapist can advise you on and help you implement into your daily life.
5. When you contact us with a query about your younger child, one of the first questions we will ask, is whether or not your child has received a hearing check or audiology assessment. A history of multiple ear infections, build up of fluid in the ear or 'glue ear' can have a huge impact on a child's speech and language development. It's important that we can identify any medical reasons as to why your child is finding it difficult to talk clearly and learn language.
6. Here at The Speech Sound Clinic, if your child is showing signs of a speech and language delay, we do not recommend a 'wait and see' approach. There are lots of strategies that we can guide you with, that will help your child reach their full potential.
Now more than ever, when most services are limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, we want you to know that you are not alone if you have concerns about your child's speech, language or communication needs.
The most important message that we want to get across is, no matter what your concern, big or small, please don't hesitate to give us a call, or send us an email. There's nothing worse than worrying and feeling alone with your concerns. We will try our best to put your mind at ease and help you choose the best path for you and your child.
The Speech Sound Clinic.