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Learn How To Identify If Your Child Needs Speech Therapy

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A painful question we parents have to ask ourselves sometimes is “does my child need speech therapy?” While it’s painful but you should not ignore the important of getting your child a speech therapy if he/she really need one. Delay in tackling a child speech and language development impairment can cause severe consequences down the road when your child grows older.

Look for these milestones in the development of your child’s speech and language before you start questioning whether if your kid needs a speech therapy.

How Your Child’s Speech and Language Develops

Look for these milestones in the development of your child’s speech and language before you start questioning whether if your kid needs a speech therapy.

At 18 months milestones

  • Your baby can say ‘no’ correctly
  • Use about ten words vocabulary
  • Identifies things like rabbit, car, dog, cat, or doll
  • Answers the what-is-this question
  • Follows simple instructions (i.e, come here or take off shoe and etc)

At 2-year-old milestones

  • Uses consonants in speech
  • Identifies parts of her body when asked
  • Strings two words together (i.e, ball gone or doggie come)
  • Loves story time
  • Can identify pictures in books
  • Vocabulary of 50 words
  • Sings simple nursery songs and says rhymes (i.e, twinkle twinkle little star)

At 3-year-old milestones

  • Can do two things you ask for (i.e, go to your room and get socks)
  • Understands yesterday and a week ago
  • Pronounce consonants sound
  • Makes conversation
  • Uses some grammar
  • Can make a longer sentence
  • Says words with consonant endings clearly
  • Have lots of questions (Yep!, brace yourself. Lot of questions is coming.)

At 4-year-old milestones

  • Use sentences a lot more
  • Have many questions (curiosity speed up at this age)
  • Tells a short story (i.e, from a book they read)
  • Can use more advance grammar
  • Can pretend-play with other kids using words
  • Can answer questions like 'about how' and 'who' and 'how many' and etc.
  • Making friend with other kids become easier

At 5-year-old milestones

  • Can understand why and when
  • Can converse and make their thought known to you
  • Can tell you how to use something
  • Is learning reading
  • Talks about anything (you will be surprised how much a kid can talk at this stage.)
  • Talk about the past and the concept of tomorrow (i.e, they will request to go to the park tomorrow)

If you are seeing your child fall behind from these milestones by a great deal, or if he/she has difficulty or is frustrated at being unable to explain what he wants, it's always recommended to seek a Speech and Language Pathologist immediately. Very often a parent’s instincts are correct so if you feel your child may need speech therapy, consult a doctor asap.


5 Signs That Your Child May Need Speech Therapy

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My neighbor Brad’s son was a quiet two and a half-year-old and Brad and his wife sensed something wasn’t right and decided to take him to a speech and language pathologist. A few sessions with the expert and little Ned is now a chatterbox at 3 ½ yrs.

Look out for these five signs that your child may need speech therapy:

#1. Social interaction seems to be missing

See if your baby crosses these milestones:

  • From 0 to 3 months the baby responds with smiles or coo-ing.
  • 7 to 12 months babies make sounds and actions like clapping or pointing.
  • 7 to 24 months babies are able to understand and respond to your talking.

#2. Sounds, gestures, or words are significantly reduced

By the time your baby is a year old he/she should be trying to make words. At 18 months they try to join two words together. If you feel your child says very few words or is not talking at all, consult a speech pathologist and ask whether your two-year-old may need speech therapy.

#3. You are having hard time to understand what your child is saying

By the time your baby is one and a half to 24 months you should be able to understand what he/she is saying.

#4. At 24 months baby should be able to join two words together

Your baby should be able to put words together from 18 months, but if by 3-year-old he still isn’t able to say words like ‘mommy come’ or ‘papa play,’ consult a doctor if speech therapy is needed.

#5. You feel your child is struggling to make words or sounds

If your child has difficulty with easy consonants like “pa” or “ba” or “ma” at two years or if you have a three-year-old who can’t make the harder sounds of ‘G’ or ‘K’, then she may have speech difficulties.


Causes of Delayed Speech or Language

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There are many reasons can contribute to a baby to delayed in developing their speech and language skills. Here are some of the common mental and physical reasons for a baby slow at catching up with speech and language skill.

  • Your child may need speech therapy if there is a physical problem in the roof of the mouth or the tongue and so words and sounds are not clear.
  • Loss of hearing can cause a delay in speaking. Hearing loss may be because of an undiagnosed ear infection.
  • Your child may have a learning disability. This may be overcome if caught early.
  • Autism spectrum disorder or cerebral palsy can also cause delays in speaking and in language development.

The Difference Between Speech and Language

Speech is the vocal sounds that we make when we talk. Speech problems include stuttering and trouble pronouncing words and other sounds related issue.

By language, we mean the giving and receiving of information through talking, gestures or writing. When your child has language problems she may have trouble putting across her thoughts or in understanding what you say.


What Parents Can Do To Help Children With Speech And Language Disorder

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At times, you find yourself looking for signs that your child may need speech therapy. Though speech and language development is dependent on inherited genes, a good and encouraging environment can go a long way in accelerating your child’s development. Here are ways you can help your baby overcomes speech and language disorders:

  • Do lots of talking, singing, hand gestures like clapping, waving can do wonders for your baby right from infancy.
  • Reading to children is an excellent way to stimulate communication. You can start at six months with simple, colorful books with pictures and go on to books with activities for the child like petting or stroking (Pat The Bunny) to nursery rhymes. Rhyming can do wonder and helpful to a child global development. Then go on to little stories. You will often see that your kids memorize stories they love!
  • Keep talking throughout the day. Talk about what you are doing - cooking or cleaning, point out things as you travel to the grocery store and continue to point out and name things when you shop, eat out, or enjoy the outdoors. Listen to your baby try to imitate you or your words and keep encouraging him/her with smiles, enthusiasm and questions. Keep it simple.

How Can A Speech-Language Pathologist Help Your Child?

Early intervention is often the key to curing a child’s speech or language problems. So it’s alright to approach a doctor if you feel that your child is not reaching the developmental milestones as expected.

The Speech and Language Pathologis t (SLP) that my neighbor Brad went to diagnosed that Ned had a hearing problem. Soon little Ned was using a hearing-aid like a pro. He exceeded expectations on all other milestone marks after that!

The SLP will use standard tests and measurements to come to a conclusion. They will take into account the milestones for speech and language development for her age group.

Watch this short video on how a SLP can help your child.


Speech-Language Pathologist Examination

When your SLP trying to examine whether your child needs speech therapy, these are some of the general things the SLP will look for:

#1. Does your child have receptive language skills, that is, can he understand what people say?

#2. Is she capable of expressive language, which is, can she explain herself?

#3. They will observe whether the child can use hand gestures, head movements or pointing while expressing herself.

#4. They will observe whether your child’s speech clarity and vocal sounds are at the right stage of development for his age.

#5. They examine the physical aspects of the movement of her tongue, palate, mouth in speech and in swallowing or eating. This is called the “oral-motor status.”

If the diagnosis is that your child does have some difficulty, then you must cooperate with the SLP. Usually, the SLP will encourage you to observe and learn together how you may help your baby at home as well.

Sometimes, over anxious can lead you to think that your child may need speech therapy but to turn out that he/she is at a normal stage of development but just a little off from the general milestone. Always read up on developmental milestones so that you have a realistic idea of what to expect at what age from your kid.

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