If your little one is no longer a toddler, but you still struggle to understand their words, they could benefit from professional assistance. Do you suspect that your child needs speech therapy? Be on the lookout for these telltale signs of potential speech difficulties.
They Can’t Articulate Certain Sounds
Some speech-sound disorders are fairly easy to recognize. Perhaps your little one sounds like Elmer Fudd, substituting “w” sounds for those tricky “r”s (like “wabbit” for “rabbit”). Or maybe they speak with a lisp, with their mouth forming a “th” instead of “s” sounds (such as pronouncing “state” as “thtate”).
They Have a Small Vocabulary
By the time your child is 2 years old, their vocabulary should consist of at least 50 words. However, when a kid experiences a speech-language disorder, learning new words can be daunting. A speech therapist can work with your child to boost their confidence as they learn new words and sounds in a safe, educational environment.
They Often Play Alone
Children with speech difficulties often have trouble socializing with their peers and engaging in parallel play, so they spend much of their time alone. This isolation is also common in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which often comes hand in hand with speech difficulties. Enrolling your child in speech therapy improves the articulation of their speech and helps them form stronger communication skills overall.
They Speak Incoherently
Is your child nearing their eighth birthday but still speaking in “baby talk”? If your child’s speech is garbled or incoherent, they could be dealing with speech apraxia, a neurological disorder that disrupts the pathway between the brain and the mouth. They might know what they want to say, but their mouth is unable to form the syllables. Speech therapy can help them practice new and difficult sounds regularly enough to build confidence and encourage clear communication.
They Don’t Speak at All
Some parents hear their little one’s first words at only a few months old, while other parents wait years to hear their child speak. One thing to know about children’s speech therapy is that speech therapists specialize in helping kids overcome these developmental delays and will lay solid groundwork for further language development.
If you suspect that your child is tangling with a speech or language disorder, they may require speech therapy to correct it. Talk to your child often and keep an eye out for these telltale signs. Speech therapy may end up being the greatest gift you give your child this year!
Dianne Pajo is a writer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.