How Do I Know if My Child is Speech Delayed?
By Allison Winters, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
You know your child best. As a parent, you know that children all develop at their own pace, but you still can’t stop that question. Whether you are at play groups, watching other kiddos on the playground, or when you think about your other children’s milestones, your child has always seemed a little behind others in pronouncing words or expressing ideas. You’ve had that gut feeling for a while now.
The people you’ve mentioned it to – maybe a family member, or pediatrician – have advised that she’s “just like Aunt Kathy was at that age,” and she’ll out grow it, or that he’s probably a late bloomer. But you continue to ask yourself: Does my child need speech therapy? Could there really be a problem, or is this just normal speech or language development? How do I know for sure, and where can I go to for help if my child is delayed?
If you have a concern your child is behind others his age, the best practice is to check it out rather than wait. If there is a delay or problem in speech or language, getting help early is best. If what you are seeing is part of normal development, you will feel better knowing that for sure, and learning what to expect of your child from someone who is specially trained to help.
Okay, but who do I talk to? What do I do first?
But what is the difference between a private pediatric speech language therapist and the services that are offered through my local early intervention agency/school district?
What if we homeschool or my child attends a private school?
Is speech therapy worthwhile?