How to Tell if Your Child Can Benefit from Speech Therapy

Speech and language are an essential part of a child’s life. It is important that children can communicate with others and understand language so they can communicate effectively with parents, peers, teachers, etc. When there is a speech language disorder present, it is best to address it with speech therapy as early as possible. Although there are a range of different speech pathologies and each child’s speech disorders may look different, there are common signs to be aware of and look out for. 

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), speech problems can be categorized into speech disorders, language disorders, and medical/developmental conditions.

  • A speech disorder may include childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), which is when the brain has difficulty with the planning and coordinating of movements required to produce speech, or stuttering, which is dysfluencies noted in speech.

  • A language disorder may include receptive language difficulties, such as difficulty with following directions, answering questions, or identifying objects/pictures. Expressive language difficulties include limited vocabulary, difficulty with putting words together to form phrases and sentences, and using language for various forms of communication.

  • Examples of medical and developmental conditions may include Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), brain injury, and autism.

According to the Center for Parent Information and Resources, speech disorders may be present in any age in the following categories:

  • Language - The child has difficulty expressing their ideas and understanding directions or others’ thoughts and questions

  • Articulation- The child produces certain sounds incorrectly (e.g., /w/ for /l/, such as white for light)

  • Voice- The child’s voice is atypically high, loud, or low

  • Fluency- The child has difficulty with the flow of speaking or breathing inappropriately during speech

 

Some common signs to look for in children include:

  • Difficulty understanding the child

  • Difficulty with expressing ideas clearly

  • Trouble understanding ideas from others

  • Difficulty putting words together into phrases/sentences

  • Trouble recalling new vocabulary and using it

  • Inappropriate grammar usage

  • Reduced vocabulary

  • Incorrect word usage

  • Difficulty understanding the meaning of a word

  • Poor social interaction skills

  • Difficulty reading and sounding words out

  • Difficulty answering questions/following directions 

Resources:


ASHA
Parent Center Hub

 


 

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