How to Know When It's Time for Speech Therapy

speech therapy

Speech therapy has helped many Americans articulate their thoughts in a more productive manner. An estimated six to eight million people currently living in the United States have some kind of language impairment, which often makes communication much more difficult. If you are wondering whether or not speech therapy can benefit your child, check out these considerations to see if it's time to seek help.

Natural Mispronunciation

Keep in mind that some mispronunciations are completely normal. Many young children will pronounce the "th" sound as an "f" sound. Preschoolers might mix up the syllables in words that are too big, or they may smoosh a slew of words together. For example, elephant may become "ellalent." These cute mix-ups are completely normal until about age six.

When To Consider Help

By the age of three, you should be able to understand most of the things your growing child is trying to tell you. If their words are not getting any easier to understand, you may want to look into speech therapy. If there is very little or even no talking at all, you should act quickly. This may be a sign of a much larger problem in normal development.

Mispronunciation is a warning that professional treatment is needed. For example, if he or she is not saying consonants or having trouble pronouncing vowels, this could be a sign. For example, instead of saying "bat," the child only says "a." On the other hand, the inability to say "cow," and instead saying "coo" could be an indication that speech therapy will be necessary to normalize communication.

Other Signs

There are several other signs that professional treatment may be helpful. When reading a book to your youngster, it is normal for them to point at objects on the pages. If you are not seeing this, ask him or her to show you the turtle or the elephant. If he or she repeats the phrase and does not try to point to the object, there might be a problem with language comprehension.

If other comprehension problems exist such as misunderstanding questions or directions, help may be needed. One example is when you ask your child if he or she would like a cookie, and they repeat the end of the question rather than indicating yes or no. Pay attention to whether your child uses new words once, or if their vocabulary remains stagnant over time, as these are also signs that you may need to consult with a professional.

Advantages of Help

Parents want to give their children every advantage in the world, and speech therapy can be one way to do just that. The way that children comprehend and respond to the spoken word serves as an indication of brain development. If you suspect that your little one isn't keeping up with peers, or language is holding them back from other accomplishments, professional help can put them back on track developmentally.

-Andrew Stratton (Article here)