Is It Necessary For My Child To Get Speech Therapy?

Life would be a lot easier if our kids could tell us exactly what they need. Unfortunately, even adults can have trouble expressing themselves when they need help, and they usually have fully formed communication skills! The good news is that children often share clues that can reveal a need for extra help. You just have to know how to spot them. Our providers at Scottsdale Pediatric Behavioral Services in North Scottsdale, Arizona, specialize in identifying and treating behavioral and developmental disorders, including speech and language delays. In this blog, they explain some of the signs that could indicate your child may have a speech or language delay.

Speech and language delay basics

While speech and language may seem the same, they’re two different things at the core, even though they can overlap. We use the term “speech” to indicate the ability to articulate words. This differs from “language,” which describes not the ability to articulate words, but the ability to express ideas with them.

For example, a child with delayed speech can verbally express their ideas, but they can’t articulate the words to make their ideas understandable. With a language delay, a child can clearly articulate words, but they can’t organize them in a coherent way to express their ideas.

The challenge to identifying these delays comes from the fact that children commonly mispronounce things and can be hard to understand, even until 4-6 years of age. However, there can be subtle clues that can indicate a speech or language disorder.

Recognizing the signs of speech and language delays

First, if you have concerns about your child’s development, you don’t have to face them alone. With our advanced training, our team can help clear up the confusion during a comprehensive assessment designed to address every facet of your child’s skills and behaviors.

Children advance through developmental milestones at their own pace for numerous reasons, and not all are a cause for concern. However, with speech and language development, there are a few general things to watch for as your child grows:

By 12 months

  • Not using gestures, such as waving or pointing

By 18 months

  • Preferring gestures over vocalization when communicating
  • Having problems imitating sounds or understanding simple verbal requests

By 24 months

  • Being unable to follow simple instructions
  • Only mimicking speech or actions, not spontaneously producing their own
  • Only using some sounds or words and not using verbal language to communicate beyond their immediate needs
  • Having an odd tone in their voice, such as nasally or raspy

You should also pay attention to how well you can understand your child as they develop. In most cases, you should have a good understanding of 50% of what your child says by about age 2 and 75% by about age 3. It’s also common for children to be mostly understandable by age 4, even by strangers.

How speech therapy can help

After reaching an accurate diagnosis, our team can create a thorough and comprehensive treatment plan designed specifically for your child’s needs. One of these areas could include speech therapy.

Our trained speech therapists can provide personalized strategies to help your child improve their speech and language development skills, both at our beautiful behavioral health center and at home. Our customized plan may involve a number of techniques, including the following:

  • Interacting through playing, talking, and singing
  • Using books, pictures, and objects to stimulate language development
  • Modeling sounds and syllables to teach certain sounds during age-appropriate play
  • Providing at-home strategies to extend the practice beyond the classroom

Do know that it’s never too late to improve speech, language, and cognitive communication. Even adults can benefit. However, studies show the most success when strategies begin as early as possible.

Are you concerned your child may have a speech or language delay? We can give your child a thorough evaluation and discuss any next steps, if necessary. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Scottsdale Pediatric Behavioral Services today.