During the early stages of life, children experience many changes. They learn how to babble, crawl, walk, and talk in the first few years. Sometimes, however, babies or toddlers don’t develop these skills as expected. This is completely normal and can be remedied with speech therapy. For example, some children have difficulties pronouncing specific letters or words or only say a handful of words. Some babies take more time than usual to utter their first words. Every child develops differently, but it is crucial to consider their developmental milestones.
What is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy treats speech disorders and communication issues performed by a speech pathologist. By combining therapy, activities, and work at home, speech therapy can help children communicate more effectively. Speech therapy programs are created specifically for your child based on their strengths, challenges, and treatment goals.
Here are some signs that could indicate your child needs speech therapy:
Your Child Has a Stutter
Stuttering refers to the inability to produce smooth sentences. Many children experience this problem, and there are several available treatments. Stuttering happens suddenly, but there are ways to identify it. If your child is making weird faces while talking or experiencing discomfort when producing a sentence, chances are high that your child has a stutter.
Your Child Only Says a Small Number of Words
Toddlers around a year and a half old can say over 20 words, and children between 1.5 and 2 years old know over 50 words. But, anything less than that is cause for concern and requires a therapist’s attention. However, this is not the surest indicator of an issue, but it is smart to check things out ahead of time.
Your Child is Quiet in Social Settings
Children can be timid at times. However, if they are constantly quiet at social gatherings or have trouble expressing themselves, consider taking them in for speech therapy. A child who prefers being alone or playing parallel in the presence of children their age may also be a sign of autism spectrum disorder. Children with autism may experience speech and language delays and social communication disorders. Engaging in speech therapy early on can provide your child with the necessary skills to participate in social interactions and make friends.
Your Child Doesn’t Understand Simple Instructions
Many children have trouble understanding multi-step instructions. However, if your toddler doesn’t respond to their name or struggles to follow simple directions like “give me the toy” or “look at the TV,” then it may be concerning. Toddlers can understand over 300 words at their age, so they should be able to answer simple “what” and “where” questions.
If you are wondering when to start speech therapy for your child, check with your healthcare provider for an assessment as soon as you notice they are not meeting these language milestones.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.