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.
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?