The Scone Advocate

Discover the perfect time to jumpstart speech therapy

Learn how to how to ascertain if it's high time for speech therapy. Picture Shutterstock
Learn how to how to ascertain if it's high time for speech therapy. Picture Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Hear and Say.

Isn't it astonishing how speedy language development occurs in kids? Picture this: little ones transition from adorable cooing sounds to articulating complete sentences in a mere span of 2 to 3 years. It's an incredible journey to witness! However, this rapid development also implies that the kiddos can lag just as quickly.

If you're feeling a tad anxious because your child isn't reaching developmental milestones, or you're pondering about the best age for speech therapy initiation, then hang tight. This article will delve into these milestones, their significance, steps to take when your child doesn't reach them, and how to ascertain if it's high time for speech therapy.

If you ever need reliable speech therapists, Hear & Say is the go-to place. Their speech therapy for children, as well as adults, is outstanding.

Why do milestones matter?

Are you wondering how to tell if your kids' language skills are on track? That's where milestones come into play! These are skills or behaviours that about 90 per cent of tykes master within a certain age range.

Now, there is no need for the worry-wrinkles - milestones aren't meant to be stress-inducing. But it's good to keep them on your radar. Talking about milestones refers to all sorts of stuff - growth, movement and physical development, literacy, and, you guessed it, speech and language!

The woes of making comparisons

It's natural to glance over at your friend's kid, who's about the same age as yours, and get a bit twitchy because they seem to be doing more. You might find yourself on the comparison rollercoaster, teetering on the brink of guilt and self-blame.

But, hey! You need to understand that every child develops at their own pace. The spectrum of 'normal' is broad and diverse! So, the chatty kid you're comparing yours to? They might be a little lagging in an area where your child is blossoming.

Keep this in mind: you're doing an amazing job, and it's okay to resist the urge to compare your child to others. If your tiny tot seems to be a little behind at some point, don't blame yourself!

Always return to the milestones checklist if you're worried, and base your decisions on what your child is doing, or not doing, rather than what another child is capable of.

Identifying the right time to consult a speech and language therapist

You might be wondering, "When is the right time to consult a speech and language therapist?" Well, if you see your little one struggling to meet their communication milestones, that's your cue. Now, the idea of speech therapy can seem a tad daunting - but trust us, it's not as nerve-wracking as you might think.

Truth be told, it's really just about understanding your child, their abilities, and their needs in a more profound way. During an assessment, speech-language pathologists will spend quality time getting to know both you and your child.

They'll identify the areas your kiddo shines in and also the ones where they might need a bit of extra help. And you know what's the best part? They'll do all this while keeping the process fun and engaging for your child - no stress, just play!

Determining the ideal age to start speech therapy

The ideal age for initiating speech therapy is highly individualised, dependent on the unique needs of your child. If you observe your child consistently failing to achieve language milestones or regressing, it might be an indication to consult a speech therapist. Remember, it's neither too early nor too late to begin speech therapy.

Many children who exhibit no verbal communication are often encouraged to undergo speech and language assessments around the age of 18 months. However, starting therapy at a younger age is certainly feasible, particularly for children with disabilities who might benefit from early intervention.

Alternatively, it's not uncommon for children to commence therapy at an older age. The start of preschool or school can often shed light on unnoticed concerns regarding a child's speech and language development.

Hence, the most optimal age for speech therapy is not defined by a universal standard, but rather the moment you discern potential language or communication obstacles your child might be facing.

Deciding the right time for a speech and language evaluation

If your kiddo seems to be lagging in hitting those developmental milestones, don't play the waiting game. Consider seeking a speech and language evaluation. It's better to side on the 'act-now' rather than the 'react-later' approach when it comes to your toddler's talk-time skills.

A lot of parents frequently tell speech therapists they wish they'd started sooner.

Now, some pediatricians might say, "Wait and see if the language skills will blossom with time." But let's cut to the chase - that's not the best route to take. Yes, some tots do eventually catch up, but the catch is, there's no telling who will and who won't.

So, families must take the wheel early, seek assistance for their kids' language progress, and learn what they can do right in the comfort of their homes.