The need for speech therapy depends on many factors. Speech and language problems are not uncommon in children. Kids progress and develop at different rates. Because of this, it may be easy for a parent or pediatrician to overlook atypical communication development and the need for speech therapy. Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) are specialists in this area and we use many tools to determine the need for therapeutic intervention. First step in the referral process is parent intuition. Trust your gut! If you believe your child may need see to see an SLP, share those concerns with your pediatrician. At the very least, he or she will provide a referral for a speech-language evaluation.
At the evaluation, the SLP will use many tools to determine your child’s present level of function. These tools include observation, criterion-referenced assessment, and standardized testing. The observation allows the SLP to see how your child interacts with you, their environment, and an unfamiliar person (the SLP). Criterion-referenced assessments are often checklists, which help the SLP gather factual information about your child’s current skills. Finally, standardized tests are formal assessments, which compare your child’s performance to children of the same age.
Once all this information is gathered, the SLP will analyze the results, share the findings and help you understand how your child’s current functioning compares to expected behaviors. The SLP will provide recommendations which may or may not include speech therapy.
Why Is Speech Therapy Important?
Communication development is widespread and can significantly impact a child’s life in many ways. When not intervened upon, the impact can affect academics, social skills, and last through adulthood.
Imagine a child who struggles with articulating the ‘s’ or ‘r’ sound. At a young age, the problem may be considered minor, but if not corrected, those sound errors will likely continue through adulthood. Imagine that child as an adult, having a very important job, such as an air traffic controller or teacher, and the information communicated to others also included articulation errors. What lasting impression do you predict that person would leave on others?
With a more immediate impact, the child who struggles to follow directions or express their thoughts will face significant challenges in the classroom. These challenges could result in difficulty gaining new information or expressing what they may already know. Not to mention, the effects of poor language skills on reading comprehension is inevitable.
Early intervention is your child’s best chance for a successful outcome. Let us help you!