How to know if your child needs speech therapy

know if your child needs speech therapy

If your child is having trouble communicating or understanding others, they may need to see a speech pathologist to work with them to overcome any challenges they are facing.

Here are some signs that your child may need help from a speech therapist:

  • Your child isn’t saying words by 12 months or isn’t using gestures, such as pointing or waving by the time they are 14 months.
  • Your child has difficulty following directions or answering simple questions.
  • Your child speaks in a muffled voice, or their speech sounds unclear.
  • Your child frequently stutters when speaking.

If you have any concerns, start by talking to a pediatrician and they can refer you to a speech therapist for an evaluation.

In this article, we will detail the signs that your child may need help from a speech therapist.

Unsure if your child needs speech therapy?

Many parents are unsure when and how to seek assistance for their children’s speech development. We hope this guide helps you recognise the symptoms of speech issues and determines when it’s time to seek expert treatment.

By understanding the basics of speech development and common problems, you can be better equipped to identify concerns in your child and take corrective action as soon as possible. Speech therapy can make a difference for struggling kids.

Speech or Language Disorder

Though commonly used interchangeably, Speech and Language Disorders are two different conditions. So the first step to identifying whether your child needs a speech therapist is understanding the difference between these two.

Speech Disorder: A speech disorder is characterised by difficulties and challenges in making specific sounds or sound combinations. It usually affects fluency, accuracy, and confidence in talking. For example, a stutter or lisp might impact the fluency and correctness of speaking.

Language Disorder: Language disorders, on the other hand, are issues with comprehending the meaning of words and phrases. Children with this condition frequently fail to express themselves effectively and appropriately through language.

Some indications of a Language or Speech Delay?

An infant who does not vocalise or respond to sounds should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible.

When should you have your child see a Speech Therapist?

Your child should see a speech therapist if you notice any of the 5 vital signs below are present.

These are the five typical signs your child needs speech therapy:

1. Your Child Isn't Babbling

If a child is not babbling by 4 to 6 months of age, they may have an auditory deficit and should be checked by a pediatrician. The child may need to see a speech-language pathologist if no deficiencies are found. Speech therapists can help families understand speech delay myths and provide exercises parents can do at home to help their child's speech development.

2. Your Child Has Been Stuttering

Stuttering can develop in toddlers, and it may resemble normal dysfluency. If your preschooler has been stuttering for longer than a month, it is wise to consult a speech therapist.

3. Your Child Doesn't Point Or Gesture

Some milestones children should achieve by their first birthday, as well as potential causes for children who do not gesture at all. If a child's lack of gesturing is cause for concern, the pediatrician may recommend speech-language pathologists or speech therapists to explore the possible causes. Sometimes, a lack of gesturing may be an early sign of autism spectrum disorder. Speech therapy for autism can significantly help a child develop speech and language skills when started early.

4. Your Child Is Making Phonological Mistakes

Some children may substitute words, omit final consonants, or simplify sound combinations when they speak. This may be due to weak articulatory muscles or trouble coordinating speech muscles. A speech therapist can help improve a child's pragmatic language and social communication skills.

5. Your Child's Speech Is Difficult To Understand

At age two, a child should be able to communicate effectively 50% of the time with a stranger. By their third birthday, they should be able to communicate 75% of the time. A child with unclear speech may indicate speech or language issues that specialists can address.

Therapy Connect: Speech Pathologist

If you are unsure of what support you need, Therapy Connect can help with this. No matter where you are located, whether in the capital cities or the most remote regions of the country, we will connect you with an experienced specialist you can rely on.

Why do people choose Therapy Connect?

Therapy Connect is Australia’s leading NDIS online therapy service. We match our team of more than 70 highly skilled and experienced therapists, to the needs and goals of our clients. 

Our online service model makes therapy more convenient and easier to access, and allows you to participate in sessions from the comfort of a familiar environment like home, pre-school or school.

Save travel time and costs, and maximise the use of NDIS funding with Therapy Connect. 

Benefits of having a Speech Pathologist

Our speech pathologist’s can help your child in many ways, including:

  • Assessing your child’s communication and language abilities.
  • Creating a personalised therapy plan to help your child enhance their communication skills.
  • Help your family to understand how to best support your child’s development.
  • Provide resources and services that will assist your child in reaching their goals.

In summary

If you have any concerns about your child’s speech development, we encourage you to contact your GP, pediatrician or get in touch with Therapy Connect directly.

At Therapy Connect, we are a dedicated online therapy service, with a team of highly skilled and experienced therapists based all over Australia, working with clients in remote and rural locations to metro locations in the capital cities. It doesn’t matter where you are, we’ll meet you there.

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