As a mom myself and a speech language pathologist, I am finding more and more of my friends and families asking about their little ones and wondering if they need speech.  People are always asking, “Well, how do you know? Or When is a good time to start?”.     I have always been an advocate for going with your mommy gut and if you think your child may need it, then it can’t hurt to get a screening or an evaluation done.  Another question that parents often ask me is “Why can’t my child talk yet?”.  As a mom, I know how nerve wracking it must be when your little one is not talking or talking as much as other toddlers his/her age, but what I have learned to be most important is that each child is unique and as hard as it may be, it is important to try not to compare.  Yes, there are milestones, but kids often grow and learn at their own rate.  It is when your child is at a stand still or not following developmental milestones accordingly, that one should be more concerned.  Children and toddlers experience learning at their own pace and through different avenues based on their interests.  Just because a child needs therapy, it does not necessarily mean your child has a disorder.  Often times, toddlers just need that extra push to help them learn language and discover their voice.  We, as speech-language pathologists, love to help these kids because this is what we specialize in.

Here are my top ten reasons why I recommend speech therapy  and early intervention:

  • First and foremost, why wait? Speech-language services can’t hurt or hinder your child’s speech development. 
  • I often tell my friends and family that speech-language services are often a glorified play session but really they are so much more than that. Therapy is actually play with a purpose.  As therapists, we are not just playing rather we are working on skills needed in order to be able to communicate more effectively.  Skills including joint attention, social referencing, imitation, cause and effect relationships, initiating, problem solving, comprehension, etc.
  • Parents get to learn about what their own child is capable of as well as what they need help learning. Therapists are always providing new strategies that parents can then use at home to play and interact with their children at home.
  • With speech services, therapists will help your child find a way to communicate while they are still learning to vocalize.
  • Speech is the MOST finely tuned movement in our human bodies. The only thing that human bodies do faster is eye movement.  Talking is not always easy and some kids need that extra push to be successful. 
  • By age 3, 85% of core structures in the brain are fully developed. Starting services before this age, will help decrease the duration your child needs services.
  • The brain triples in size from birth to two years of age.
  • Research has concluded that children’s earliest experiences are critical in brain development. The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University summarized: “Neural circuits, which create the foundation for learning, behavior, and health, are most flexible or “plastic” during the first three years of life. Over time, they become increasingly difficult to change.”
  • A child’s language skills often directly impact their performance in school and academics. Vocabulary, reading comprehension, decoding, following directions, and social skills often can be impacted negatively when language deficits occur.  Why not address speech and language as early as possible to increase their potential for academic success when reaching school-aged? 
  • Speech-language pathologists are here to help. We go to school to prepare ourselves for helping families and children learn to communicate. Why not take advantage of what we know and how it can help your child.   

Sara Parsons M.S. CCC/SLP

Ebert, Cari.  (2018, September).  Sensory Integration and Speech Delays.  Presentation at Summit Profressional Education Online. 

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