Does My Child Need Speech Therapy?
Many parents of young children wonder if their children need speech therapy. In this article, we'll help explain what’s “normal” and what isn’t.
When a child doesn’t reach a milestone on time, their parents can feel anxious and concerned that they aren’t developing as they should. Although children develop at different rates, it can still be worrying if your child doesn’t start talking when most children do. Does your child need speech therapy?
While speech therapy is appropriate for some children, for others, it’s simply that they aren’t ready to talk yet. But how can you know? And if your child does need speech therapy, how should you proceed?
This issue can be concerning for parents, which is why it’s important to take certain aspects into account to know whether or not speech therapy is a good idea for your child. In addition, we’ll also offer you some tips and ideas that will come in handy.
What’s “normal” in terms of language?
Below, we’re going to explain some of the milestones that experts consider “normal” in terms of language in young children. When you finish reading the lists, you must remember that each child develops at a different speed. Also, the fact that they didn’t reach a milestone at a certain age doesn’t mean that they’ll have a future developmental problem.
You should keep the following in mind:
- Under one year of age. Verbally interacting with the environment by making sounds. These sounds are the precursors of speech.
- From 12 to 15 months. Babies begin to imitate the sounds of their mother tongue and begin to say single words. They can follow simple one-step instructions.
- From 18 months to 2 years. During this time, young children expand their vocabulary and begin to put two words together, such as “round ball.”
- Between 2 and 3 years. Children of this age start speaking. Their vocabulary and comprehension increase. For example, if the child is three years old and only puts two words together, they could have a delay that requires therapy.
A combination of factors
Speech delay alone isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, speech delay accompanied by other problems could be more serious. For example, if your child has a speech delay and manifests other unusual behaviors, it may mean that it’s time to seek therapy.
Such unusual behaviors include:
- Lack of non-verbal communication, such as eye contact, smiles, babbling, and other pro-social behaviors.
- Inability to follow instructions or even listen to them.
- Bad memory, especially short-term memory.
- Extreme frustration when they’re trying to speak.
Is it necessary to seek speech therapy?
If you’re concerned about your child’s speech development, a good place to start is by talking to your pediatrician. They can give you their professional opinion on whether or not to consider speech therapy. In addition, they can recommend a speech therapist if necessary.
Also, it won’t be a bad idea to get a second or even a third opinion from another pediatrician and you may want to talk to other therapists in addition to the one your pediatrician recommends. When it comes to getting your child the help they need, it pays to be a little demanding.
In this regard, when it comes to choosing a speech therapist, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Do you like the therapist’s behavior? Do you feel you can work with them?
- Does your child seem comfortable with the therapist?
- What type of approach does the speech therapist use?
- Do they have good work references?
- According to their experience and knowledge, do you think they can work with your child in a personalized way?
If you don’t feel comfortable with your child’s speech therapist, you can change them. It doesn’t matter what type of references you have or if they’re really a good professional. If there’s something about them that you don’t like or that doesn’t convince you, you can find another you feel really comfortable with every time your child goes to their sessions.
If your child is still young and hasn’t started talking yet, remember that each child has their own learning rhythm and, perhaps, sooner than you imagine, you’ll be surprised with the progress they’ll make.