why see a Speech Pathologist?
YES ……………….If your child becomes frustrated when they are trying to talk.
YES ……………When you feel there is a problem.
Speech (i.e. how clear they sound) should be assessed if:
- is difficult to understand. (more than his / her peers).
- Speech is not clear. (70% of speech should be clear to a stranger by 2 years of age).
- becomes frustrated when misunderstood.
- omits first sounds i.e. “dog” – “og”.
- omits last sounds of words after 2½ years e.g., “bus” – “bu”.
- ‘distorts’ sounds e.g. lisping /s/ sound. (3+ years).
Language (i.e. understanding what is said and using sentences) should be assessed if your child is:
- No comprehending or using language at the same level as his/her peers.
- Not using any words at 18 months.
- Not using 50 words and two-word sentences at 24 months.
- Using immature grammar and poorly formed sentences.
- Not able to re-tell a story or what they have been doing in a logical manner (by 4 years).
Fluency or stuttering. While many children recover from stuttering naturally, waiting to see if this occurs can jeopardise the child’s responsiveness to the program. Therefore it is advised to have a child assessed by a qualified Speech Pathologist as soon as possible if stuttering is occurring regularly or over several months.
Voice should be assessed if it is continually croaky or they sound like they are talking through their nose.
Literacy (i.e. reading and spelling) should be assessed if your child is not keeping pace with their peers or they have poor phonological skills in pre-school years. Children should have an awareness of rhyme, sound awareness in words and interest in the written word by 3½ – 4 years.
Feeding/Eating Problems We use the same muscles and mouth structures to eat and talk. If a baby is having trouble taking solids, moving from smooth foods to lumpy foods, not chewing chewy foods, having a very restricted diet, you may need to consider an assessment by a trained Speech Pathologist. This will observe strength, sensitivity and co-ordination of the mouth and related areas and observation of eating various food textures.
Why intervene? Will they grow out of it?
- The literature suggests that children with even minor speech difficulties are at risk of “social marginalisation” as children will point out at even an early age when one of their peers is speaking in a “different way” (Rice et al. 1993).
- The literature suggests that there is an urgency to intervene at an early age with children who have speech problems due to the cumulative evidence that speech disorders can affect pre-literacy skills and in turn achievement at school (Dodd et al. 1995; Joffe and Serry, 2004).