It can be tricky knowing if your child needs speech therapy. Everyone around you might have a different opinion. Plus, there’s often lots of advice coming from different people.
You will have good instincts when it comes to your child’s speech language development. If you’ve noticed that your child is ‘falling behind’ others in their peer group, or having trouble communicating with you, or understanding you they need some speech therapy.
It’s true that not reaching certain milestones (see below) doesn’t mean there is necessarily a problem. However early intervention is best, so it’s better not to ‘wait and see’!
What should I expect?
You should contact a Speech & Language Therapist if:
- Your child is 9 months old and isn’t babbling.
- At 15 months, your child doesn’t have first words.
- When they are 18 months old and doesn’t use some words consistently.
- They aren’t joining words together at 24 months old.
- Your child is 24 months old and you have trouble understanding what your child is saying.
- At 36 months old, other people have trouble understanding what your child is saying.
- They don’t seem ‘interested’ in communicating.
In addition, what you want to see, is your child’s communication consistently improving. By the age of three they should be proficient communicators with most of the people around them.
Why is a Speech Therapy assessment important?
Not meeting these milestones MAY be a warning sign that your child is finding speech and language development difficult. It doesn’t mean you need to worry, or that something is wrong, but it is a good time to have a speech and language assessment. Speech therapy (if needed) is important to do. Communication delays can have an ongoing impact on a child’s life that can last into school, and adulthood if they are left without support.
So, what next?
Sometimes, just a phone call with a speech & language therapist is a good place to start. Often, they’ll want to see your child as they may notice some of the emergent skills a child needs for communicating are developing (and there’s a good chance words are too). They might suggest some speech therapy sessions, a home programme, or a review within a certain time frame to check everything is on track.