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Warning Signs that May Mean Your Child Needs Speech Therapy

Children accomplish so much during their first couple of years. In a matter of months, they learn to crawl, walk, talk, and socialize with others. Most of the skills your child learns come with an expected age range. For instance, most babies begin to crawl between 6 and 10 months, and the vast majority are accomplished walkers by 15 months.

The same milestones exist for speech. Your child should say their first word by age 1, and they should know about 20 words by 18 months. If your child is behind these targets, don’t hit the panic button. Your child may just be slow in developing their language skills and could benefit from working with a speech therapist.

If your child is having issues with development, come see us at Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy. We offer a welcoming and comfortable environment for children that can help them develop the essential skills they need to thrive and lead a fulfilling life. With three pediatric occupational therapists and a pediatric speech therapist on staff, we can help your child develop the skills they need to tackle whatever lies ahead.

On speech and language

Speech therapy can help your child develop their speech and language skills. Although speech and language overlap, the two are slightly different when it comes to the details. Children may have difficulty with speaking and not language, language but not speaking, or both.

Speech

Speech involves articulation, voice, and fluency. All three aspects of speech must come together for effective verbal skills. Articulation deals with the way our lips, tongue, and mouth move to produce certain sounds. A child who struggles with articulation may have trouble with “r” or “th” sounds. Voice is the use of the breath and vocal folds to make sounds. While your child doesn’t need to be loud, they should be able to speak at a consistently understandable volume. Fluency is the rhythm of speech. Children who struggle with fluency may stutter or stammer.

Language

Language refers to the words we use and how we use them to share ideas and get what we want. Language includes speaking, understanding, reading, and writing. A child with a language disorder may have trouble with one or more of these skills.

Language includes:

Having trouble understanding what others say is a receptive language disorder. Having problems sharing our thoughts, ideas, and feelings is an expressive language disorder. 

When it’s time to see a speech therapist

Every child develops speech and language skills at their own pace, and the milestones for development are wide. That being said, if you notice that some of the following signs apply to your child, it may be time for speech therapy:

Number of words 

Your child uses less than 20 words at 18 months and less than 50 words by age 2.

Number of sounds

Your child only uses a few sounds to pronounce all words. This goes back to articulation.

Understanding 

By age 2, most children understand more than 300 words. If your child has trouble understanding simple sentences, such as “get your coat,” it may be time to see a speech therapist.

Social situations

Your child talks infrequently and has trouble using language socially.

Unclear or immature speech

Your 2-year-old should be able to communicate at an acceptable volume and combine different words.

If you're concerned about any of these issues, it’s time to come in for an assessment.

At Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy, our therapists provide one-on-one therapy that can help your child improve and master their speech and language skills. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone today.

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