This post is sponsored by Children’s Therapy Services in Overland Park. They can help your child improve speech and language so they are ready for school in the fall!
You may have a concern or someone in you or your child’s life has mentioned to you that your child might need speech services. This person may have been your child’s classroom teacher, a pediatrician, or a close friend or family member. You’re unsure of what this means for your child and what the next steps should be.
First of all, know that you are in the same boat that many parents have been in before. There are many different opinions and viewpoints when it comes to speech therapy. The vocabulary and jargon surrounding the field can also be extremely confusing to someone that doesn’t have a degree in speech pathology.
Some terms you may have heard thrown around in your quest for information are words like: “speech-language pathologist,” “speech,” and “language.” A speech-language pathologist, also called an SLP, is the individual who will evaluate and provide speech therapy services. This person evaluates and treats speech, language, reading, social, and feeding disorders. An SLP should have a master’s degree in the area of speech pathology and hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
When someone refers to treating “speech” in speech therapy, they are referring to the actual speech sounds that someone produces when speaking. For example, your child may say “wabbit” instead of “rabbit” or “tandy” instead of “candy.” These are what we consider to be speech sound errors. Speech sound errors should not be present beyond kindergarten in most children.
The term “language” refers to everything from understanding how to follow directions, (receptive language), to using age-appropriate vocabulary, using correct and age-appropriate sentence structure, and utilizing appropriate social skills (expressive language). A child who is considered a “late talker” would also fall in the category of language therapy.
The most important piece of information is that if you have any concerns for your child’s speech or language, you should make an appointment for your child to be evaluated by a speech-language pathologist as soon as you possibly can. The reasoning behind this idea is early intervention sets up a child to close these speech and language gaps faster than if speech therapy is put on hold for when the child is older.
For example, a child who is 18 months old and has 3 spontaneously used words is only expected to have 50 words by this age. There is much less ground to cover compared to if the child is 3 years old and only has 20 out of the 1000 expected words by this age.
Early intervention in speech therapy is critical in order to ensure that a child can catch up to same-age peers quickly. If your child is exhibiting any of the following characteristics, you should seek an evaluation from a speech-language pathologist. Summertime is a GREAT time to close the gap!
The biggest takeaway is that if you are unsure in any way that your child is not meeting his or her speech and language milestones do not wait. We are here to help!
Contact us and we can answer your questions and talk with you about your concerns, we see all ages birth through 21 years. The evaluation will give you peace of mind, and if your child does need speech therapy services, remember the earlier you get help… the better the outcomes.