Children who may need a Speech Pathologist
Are you concerned about the way your child communicates? Are you worried about their speech, the way they understand what you say or the way they express themselves? Do you feel they are not developing or learning as well as you would like them to? Speech pathologists can assess the level of your child's skills and provide support to develop areas of need. Contact us to discuss what we can do to assist your child in their development. Some children are more likely to have difficulties learning to talk. Children are at a higher risk of difficulties learning to talk if they:
- Have had repeated ear infections or glue ear
- Were born prematurely
- Have family members with a history of speech, language, reading, writing or spelling difficulties, or dyslexia
- Have Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD/ ADD), Auditory Processing Disorder (APD/ CAPD), Down Syndrome, or a developmental delay.
Early identification and assistance for children with speech and/or language learning difficulties can make a world of difference to their learning and happiness. Children with reading, writing or spelling difficulties and children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia also benefit from seeing a speech pathologist and sometimes an occupational therapist. Communication difficulties occur in a variety of forms, such as:
- Speech difficulties, for example, saying 'tat' for 'cat' or 'gog' for 'dog'.
- Language difficulties, including difficulties following directions, answering questions or constructing sentences as well as other children their age.
- Fluency difficulties, otherwise known as stuttering or stammering, e.g. they may say 'c-c-c-c-c-c-cat' or appear to be 'stuck' on words.
- Difficulties learning to read and spell.
- Difficulties telling or writing a story.
- Difficulties knowing how to use language to get along and play with other children.
- Difficulties using their voice (they may sound husky or hoarse when they speak).
If your child is not progressing well at school it is highly likely that your child would benefit from being assessed and possibly working with a speech pathologist. Much of the classroom learning requires a good grasp of language to understand information and instructions, and to demonstrate understanding and seek information and clarification. If your child is younger you may not realise they are having language based learning difficulties. Well-meaning people will often say things to parents such as "let's wait and see", "you were a late talker and you're fine now", "your child will 'catch up' when they start school, or preschool".
Unfortunately this results in too many children not getting the help they need early enough, resulting in a much bigger gap between them and their peers. To help you decide if your child may need to see a speech pathologist we have some online checklists* for you. If your child isn't achieving in the areas expected, or has any of the difficulties listed in the 'causes for concern' section your child should see a speech pathologist just to be sure. It is much better to check with a professional so your child doesn't fall further behind. Early intervention has been proven to be most effective for long term positive results.
*Note: These checklists are only very broad indicators and are not a replacement for professional consultation.
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