When to seek a Speech & Language Evaluation

IF YOUR CHILD IS NOT TALKING…

  • Kids should start talking by the time they are 12 months, therefore, if your child doesn’t have any words or is grunting or pulling you and pointing to what they want to express themselves, then it is a good sign that you may want to get a speech and language evaluation.
  • If you give your child what they want through signing and imitation, then they learn that it is necessary to sign/talk/imitate to get what they want. However, by the same token, if you teach them that they get what they want when they cry/scream/point/grunt, then you are teaching them that that is what they need to do to get what they want. I recognize it may be hard to withhold or not give in because its easier to soothe them by giving them what they want, but you are ultimately making it harder on yourself to teach them that they need to TALK or SIGN or COMMUNICATE in some way to get what they want. Remember – an action causes a reaction. If you teach them that when they cry and scream they get what they want – to no fault of their own – they will cry and scream to get it again the next time. On the flip side if you don’t give in to the crying and screaming and ultimately teach them they have to try to SAY or DO something to get what they want, then they will learn – crying doesn’t work but talking/signing does!
  • These habits are harder to break but can be done the sooner you get your child in for therapy. You may be looking at more tantrums because they rules are being changed and your child is being held to a higher standard by requiring them to talk – but in the end it will be worth it. Trust me.

IF YOUR CHILD’S SPEECH IS NOT CLEAR…..

  • Most importantly is your child’s ability to understand you and know what you are saying to them. If you can confidently say your child understands you, and can follow directions but it is simply a matter of not understanding your child when they talk, then this is just a speech/intelligibility issue. Your child will need to work with a therapist to help them learn how to position their articulators (tongue, lips, teeth etc) in order to form the right sounds. With prompting, cueing, modeling and other strategies, your child will learn how to express themselves more clearly.
  • Sometimes your child’s expressive language skills can be masked by lack of intelligibility. They may very well be saying things that are appropriate and on target to the conversation at hand, but due to the lack of intelligibility of their speech, they are misunderstood and their words are not being expressed clearly. However, with therapy your child can learn to speak with accuracy – ultimately enabling their expressive language to be understood.

IF YOUR CHILD IS HAVING DIFFICULTY FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS, THIS FALLS UNDER RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE…….

  • If your child gives you a blank stare when you are asking them to do things or to label a picture, then perhaps your child doesn’t understand the words you are saying and therefore struggles to follow through and answer your questions and label pictures. Speech therapy will help your child build the receptive skills necessary in order to express themselves and follow directions.

IF YOUR CHILD IS UNABLE TO USE THEIR WORDS TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES….

  • Typically we expect the receptive score to be higher than the expressive score, when testing kids, because kids are more likely to understand what you say but unable to label it on their own at an early stage. However, kids learn to approximate and label words early on, building their functional vocabulary by age 1 (on average). Therefore, if your child isn’t talking or expressing an understanding at this age, it would be appropriate to have an evaluation conducted.
Take a look at Developmental Milestones.

Bottom line:

  1. Don’t wait! It is imperative that your child be able to learn to talk and communicate in order to function in society. Therefore, if they aren’t, there is no reason to wait. Early intervention leads to positive results.
  2. If you are unsure if your child is functioning at an age appropriate level, it cannot hurt to have them tested. In the very least, maybe they are a little bit behind and need the push to get them ready for pre-school or KG. Yet, if they are really struggling, it will only get worse with a wider gap between their chronological age and language age the longer you wait creating more difficulty with learning to read, sounding out letter sounds, and understanding the teacher/following directions.
  3. On the flip side you may find out that your child is right on target and may just have a few minor areas that you can address on your own. Your therapist can give you tips and suggestions to help you target the specific areas necessary.
  4. Go to www.advantagespeech.com for tips, suggestions, product highlights, testimonials, and success stories on how speech therapy has helped so many kids.
  5. Connect with Advantage Speech Therapy Services on Social Media with hashtag #AdvantageSpeech (FB, Instagram, Twitter).

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