If you are concerned about your child's communication development or feeding skills, consult with a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Some common reasons for parents to seek the help of an SLP are:

Significant Delays in Communication Development Compared to Children of the Same Age

There is wide range of typical speech, language, and communication behaviors in development. At age two, some children might be speaking in single words, while others are using sentences. Both are quite typical. However, if you're concerned about your child's communication development, you should consult with your physician or an SLP as soon as possible. The page, "Milestones and Red Flags in Communication Development" offers some general developmental guidelines. It also discusses the red flags parents should watch for and talk to their physicians about.
It's useful for parents to know the difference between a child who has a communication disorder versus a child who is a "late talker." A "late talker" refers to a child who is not talking as much as expected, but who is otherwise showing typical development in other areas of communication, including, language comprehension, non-verbal communication, and social skills. Studies show that many "late talkers" eventually catch up developmentally over time. In contrast, children who have communication disorders may not outgrow their difficulties without intervention. For more information, please read ASHA's information sheet called, "Late Blooming or Language Problem."

Stuttering

Stuttering affects the fluency of speech. It begins during childhood and, in some cases, lasts throughout life. The disorder is characterized by disruptions in the production of speech sounds, also called "disfluencies." Most people produce brief disfluencies from time to time. For instance, some words are repeated and others are preceded by "um" or "uh." Disfluencies are not necessarily a problem; however, they can impede communication when a person produces too many of them. For young children, it is important to predict whether the stuttering is likely to continue. An evaluation consists of a series of tests, observations, and interviews designed to estimate the child's risk for continuing to stutter. No single factor can be used to predict whether a child will continue to stutter. The combination of these factors can help SLPs determine whether treatment is indicated.
The Stuttering Foundation has provided an article for parents called, "If You Think Your Child is Stuttering..." to help parents distinguish between the kinds of disfluencies that are temporary and part of typical development and those that are likely to continue. They have also provided the following video - Stuttering and Your Child: Help for Parents
(retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2_mgt87g1Y)

For more information on when to refer your child for speech-language services, see the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Speech Referral Guidelines for Pediatrics.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What is speech-language pathology?
  2. When should I seek help from a speech-language pathologist?
  3. How can I find a speech-language pathologist?
  4. What can I expect when working with a speech-language pathologist?
  5. What kind of funding support is available for speech-language pathology services?
  6. What speech-language pathology resources are available in the Bay Area?

 

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