Thinking about Seeing a Speech Therapist for Your Child? Do It

This is a post for Box Hill Speech Pathology

Sometimes you just know in your heart of hearts that something isn’t right with your child’s speech development. Perhaps you have noticed his/her peers are speaking so much fluently, or their vocabulary is far more advanced, than your own child’s. It can make your heart sink a little. People might convince you to ‘wait it out’ and that all children develop at a different pace. While this is absolutely true, seeing a speech therapist¬†doesn’t need to be seen as a ‘big deal’ or a ‘fail’ on you or your child’s development. In fact, even if your child’s speech turns out to be just fine, seeing a speech therapist can be one of the best things you did!

When we first saw a speech therapist for Tom’s speech delay, it was suggested to us that we were over-reacting. He would be fine. He’s just taking the world in, before he starts talking. Seeing a speech therapist, in many eyes, was a sign that something was seriously wrong. However, we went with our gut instinct and we had several sessions from 18 months old up until he had a formal 3 year old assessment 6 months ago.

Tom 3rd birthday

According to Box Hill Speech Pathology, “difficulty communicating…can lead to frustration, anxiety, poor interaction with others, withdrawal and eventually may lead to literacy and learning problems at school” It’s not worth waiting it out if you feel something’s amiss.

You should see Tom now. He NEVER stops talking. I was grateful that there was nothing seriously wrong with Tom’s speech development, but I was just as grateful for the advice given to us by his speech therapist.

Why won’t you regret seeing a speech therapist for your child?

1. They are TRAINED: It’s natural for people to draw upon their own experiences and come out with statements like “My son didn’t really start talking until he was 3. He is fine now!” However, only a trained professional such as a speech therapist can pinpoint speech delays and how they can be managed or helped.

2. They will help YOU help your child: Being a teacher, I found the advice given to us in regards to Tom’s speech delay fascinating. Some of it we were already doing, but we needed to lift our game. Other things were completely new things to try. I found that the sessions helped us to be very conscious of how we were communicating with him. Soon, what the therapist taught us, became second nature and you could see the improvement in Tom’s behaviour and way of communicating too.

3. They track your child’s speech development: The milestones can be really apparent – pointing to communicate, that first word, putting two words together and so on. The little stepping stones to get to those milestones are things that a speech therapist can help you see and help your child get there. They might not seem ‘as big of a deal’ but they are just as important and exciting as that first word!

4. They assess more than speech: Sometimes there is an underlying issue that is affecting a child’s speech. From developmental delays to oral health, your speech therapist will investigate to ensure they can understand why your child is having difficulty communicating or developing their speech.

Jeremy is running along the same tracks as Tom. While he is a touch more communicative than Tom was at this age, his ‘babble’ is very similar to what Tom’s was and he isn’t really saying any definable words yet. I’m OK with that but I’m also armed with the tools to know what to look out for and how I can help him along. The speech therapist was invaluable for educating me, as well as Tom.

Have you seen a speech therapist or considering one for your child? 

One thought on “Thinking about Seeing a Speech Therapist for Your Child? Do It

  • All 4 of my boys have seen a speechie, the eldest 3 just had very slight articulation errors for some letters, so we would see the speechie once a month or so to get some ideas for things to do at home and for each of them, only had about 4-6 appointments. With my youngest, my mothers gut feeling said there was something wrong as he never babbled as a baby, never took a dummy or bottle and had chronic ear infections. Doctors and MCHN’s all said it was of no concern, he was the youngest of 4 so his brothers were making all the noise and speaking for him and to not worry about it. Finally, at his 18 month old MCHN check, when he still only had a vocab of less than 20 words and had not put two words together, and after multiple ear infections and tonsilitis, did she refer us to a speechie and for a hearing test. Hearing test came back with mild hearing loss and speech assessment came back as very lowest end of normal. We were also referred to an ENT who said that he had the nastiest and biggest tonsils she had seen on a toddler, and just before his second birthday, he had a tonsilectomy and adenoidectomy. She was expecting to also have to do grommets but decided they were not needed. Even when laying in his hospital bed recovering from his surgery, my little one would suddenly look towards a phone ringing or a new noise, something he had never done before. A hearing test 2 months later, showed perfect hearing. We were continuing with speech therapy and a speech assessment at 2.5years showed he had a severe speech delay. There were other physical issues going on with our little man that we were getting checked out with a Paediatrician to try and work out what was going on with his body. Just after he turned 3 our speechie left and we got a new one, one who had years of experience, rather than just out of Uni like our first one. Within a few sessions, she realised it wasnt just a severe speech we were dealing with, but rather a condition called Dyspraxia with him having both the Oral and Verbal/Speech components of it. Suddenly it all made sense. It wasnt that he just hadnt been hearing words and sounds, but that he also physically couldnt get his brain and mouth muscles to communicate together to produce the sounds. When we next saw our Paed, he confirmed the Dyspraxia diagnosis and also said that he had the motor component as well. So now we have fortnightly speech, physio and early intervention appointments as well as regularly seeing an OT. He has come such a long way and now at almost 4, regularly uses 3-4 word sentences, and has just recently moved from using speech to mostly label items, to functional speech, which is a huge step forward, but we still have a very long journey ahead of us and will be seeing a speechie on a regular basis for at least 5 years, possibly more. We are hopeful that he will gain functional speech but there will probably always be some sounds and words that he may struggle with or not be able to say at all. Safe to say, we love our Speechie, she has been invaluable to our family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *