Does my child need speech therapy?
This is not always obvious, but there are many indications that warrant an evaluation by a licensed speech therapist. Concerns may arise from the parent, pediatrician, social worker, teacher, friend, relative or other adults that spend time around the child.
If a child needs therapy, it is best to start it as early as possible. As they get older, a child's condition may worsen and become more difficult to correct. If the child does not need or qualify for therapy, the therapist will assure the parent that the child is developing well. If the evaluation suggests a need for therapy, treatment will begin within a few weeks of the evaluation.
Speech therapy is probably needed if the child...
- Has difficulty saying words well or appropriately for their age (articulation)
- Struggles with learning or remembering words and/or learning how to put words together to make sentences
- Has a difficult time understanding age appropriate language (language delays)
- Stutters, especially if longer than 6 month duration
- Has a raspy voice, a very quiet voice, or complains about not having a voice
- Drools a lot or has difficulty feeding and/or swallowing
Age-specific indications include...
- The 12-18 month old does not point to items to request them and does not seem to know how to play with toys like other children their age and/or you have a difficult time interacting with the child because they don't seem interested in social games.
- The 2-year old child does not use a variety of words to request and name items or only produces a few speech sounds and you have a difficult time understanding what the child is saying.
- The 2.5 year old does not combine two words to make little sentences or you and other close family members and friends cannot understand the child.
- The 3 year old does not communicate with a variety of short sentences and/or unfamiliar listeners cannot understand what he/she is saying.
- The 4 year old does not communicate with a variety of sentences that only uses words primarily in the correct order, has a very difficult time learning concepts like colors and numbers, and/or does not understand directions well.
- The child who stutters and seems to get stuck on words and has been doing so for over 6 months.
- The child who has difficulties nursing, transitioning to solids, chewing and swallowing.
What are some possible underlying reasons for the child's speech or language problem?
While most children with speech/language delays have otherwise typical development these problems can also be related to other conditions such as:
- Hearing Impairments
- Cognitive or Other Developmental Delays
- Weak Oral Muscles
- Birth Defects (including cleft lip or palate)
- Motor Planning Problems
- Respiratory Problems (breathing disorders)
- Swallowing Disorders
- Traumatic Brain Injury
What do speech therapists treat?
Speech therapists treat problems in the areas of articulation, oral-motor delays, speech delays, and voice problems, receptive and expressive language disorders and feeding difficulties.
What happens during a therapy session?
Our therapist will use a variety of age appropriate and fun play-based techniques to overcome difficulties involved with the child's specific disorder. The therapist will work with the child in the home, daycare or classroom, either one-on-one, with another child, sibling, peer or with a caregiver. Children typically enjoy their therapy sessions because our clinicians have specialized in working with children and present therapeutic activities in a supportive, fun and playful way.
How do I know if my child is receiving quality therapy services and reaching their goals?
- We only hire therapists who are appropriately licensed and credentialed.
- Our therapists are truly committed to helping the children they serve and supporting their caregivers by providing caregiver education.
- Our therapists keep detailed records of each therapy session, which are reviewed regularly.
- Small World Therapy provides periodic progress reports to parents.
- If requested, Small World Therapy provides monthly reporting to the referring physician, case worker and social worker.