When Should I Seek A Speech Evaluation?
"I was a late-talker, too."
"Maybe she will catch up in pre-school or kindergarten."
"I'll ask about it at the next check-up."
"But he is only two and a half, what can a Speech Therapist do?"
The answer is A LOT, because it is never too early to seek an evaluation. If you suspect your child may have a speech or language delay/disorder, it is important to receive an evaluation as soon as possible. The more help your child receives early on, the more likely he or she will benefit from therapy.
Research suggests 70-80% of toddlers with speech difficulties will outgrow a language delay if it is strictly an expressive delay (have difficulty expressing themselves in some way). That means 20-30% of children will not catch up to their peers. It is important to know that when children have difficulty with their language skills, they most likely will have persistent struggles with reading and writing at school and in the future. Early intervention is a proven model that decreases the need for intensive services later in the child's life. Early intervention has a significant impact on a child’s development and helps with overall communication, interactions with others, and social and emotional developmental skills.
During the first three years of life, a child develops an immense amount of speech and language skills. The learning that takes place has a huge influence on how the brain develops. If a child is having difficulty during this time, therapy should begin as soon as possible to take full advantage of this developmental period. Additionally, parents may see "behaviors" spike when their child is frustrated by a communication breakdown. Most often, behaviors are a sign that a child is being misunderstood. It is common for families to see a decrease in negative behaviors, after a few weeks or months of therapy.
During early intervention, it is imperative that parents be active in the process and have an understanding of how to implement some strategies in the home. Parents provide the biggest language model to their child by being around them on a daily basis. Therapists can teach parents valuable early language strategies to help develop communication during play and daily routines like bath and bedtime. If you question whether your child needs early intervention, seek help as soon as possible. The earlier your child receives help, the more chances they have at being a successful communicator.
Please contact us, if you feel your child may be struggling with a speech or language delay. We are happy to answer your questions and discuss options.
“Benefits of tackling speech and language delays early on,” S.L. Hunter SpeechWorks