Does your Child need Speech Therapy?

Does your Child need Speech Therapy?

10 Jul 2014 | 5 min Read

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When should I take my child to a speech language pathologist / speech therapist?

Your child should visit a speech language  therapist if they are having trouble with:


1. Articulating certain sounds:


Typical age for development(years)Sounds
2p | d | m | w | h | n
3t | b | k | g
4-5f | v | y
5-7s | z | j | l | r | sh | ch | th | blends


2. Speaking fluently: Hesitation in their flow of speech, e.g. “mm-mm-mama”


3. Speaking age appropriately:

Below is a table of typical infant/toddler language development (table courtesy: American Speech & Hearing Association)


Birth – 3 Months »


Hearing and UnderstandingTalking
Startles to loud soundsMakes pleasure sounds (cooing, gooing)
Quiets or smiles when spoken toCries differently for different needs
Seems to recognize your voice and quiets if cryingSmiles when sees you
Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to sound 


4 – 6 Months »


Hearing and UnderstandingTalking
Moves eyes in direction of soundsBabbling sounds more speech-like with many different sounds, including p, b and m
Responds to changes in tone of your voiceChuckles and laughs
Pays attention to musicVocalizes excitement and displeasure
 Makes gurgling sounds when left alone and when playing with you


7 – 12 Months »


Hearing and UnderstandingTalking
Enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cakeBabbling has both long and short groups of sounds such as “tata upup bibibibi”
Turns and looks in direction of soundsUses speech or non crying sounds to get and keep attention
Listens when spoken toUses gestures to communication (waving, holding arms to be picked up)
Begins to respond to requests (e.g. “Come here” or “Want more?”)Imitates different speech sounds
 Has one or two words (hi, dog,dada, mama) around first birthday, although sounds may not be clear


1 – 2 years »


Hearing and UnderstandingTalking
Points to a few body parts when askedSays more words every month
Follows simple commands and understands simple questions (“Roll the ball,” “Kiss the baby,” “Where’s your shoe?”)Uses some one- or two- word questions (“Where kitty?” “Go bye-bye?” “What’s that?”)
Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymesUses gestures to communication (waving, holding arms to be picked up)
Points to pictures in a book when namedPuts two words together (“more cookie,” “no juice,” “mommy book”)
 Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words


2 – 3 years »


Hearing and UnderstandingTalking
Understands differences in meaning (“go-stop,” “in-on,” “big-little,” “up-down”).Has a word for almost everything.
Follows two requests (“Get the book and put it on the table”).Uses two- or three- words to talk about and ask for things.
Listens to and enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of timeUses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds.
 Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time.
 Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them.


3 – 4 years »


Hearing and UnderstandingTalking
Hears you when you call from another room.Talks about activities at school or at friends’ homes.
Hears television or radio at the same loudness level as other family members.People outside of the family usually understand child’s speech.
Answers simple “who?”, “what?”, “where?”, and “why?” questions.Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words.
 Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words.


4 – 5 years »


Hearing and UnderstandingTalking
Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about them.Uses sentences that give lots of details (“The biggest peach is mine”).
Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school.Tells stories that stick to topic.
 Communicates easily with other children and adults.
 Says rhyming words.
 Names some letters and numbers.
 Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family.


4. Voice Quality: Hoarse, nasal or off pitch (high or low) voice


5. Feeding: Being averse to foods, trouble chewing, holding their food for too long in their mouth, or gagging


How early should/ can I begin speech-language therapy?

This depends on the communication milestones that are expected at every age. Speech therapists can begin working with children as early as 12 months of age for communication skills. However in the case of feeding/swallowing issues, intervention can start as early as a few weeks to a month of birth.


Should I wait for my child to “outgrow” his/her speech issue?

No. Early intervention in speech and language shows the best results. If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language it is best to see a speech therapist for an assessment. Research has shown that children with untreated speech and language difficulties are at a higher risk for learning difficulties at school age.


Read more about : Promoting Speech & Language In Infants!, How does hearing many languages affect your child’s speech development?,  What No One Ever Told You About Your Voice!

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