It’s not just about what your child does or doesn’t say.
Did you know that there are actually 2 parts to speech and language?
- Receptive (input): Information your child takes in
- Expressive (output) Information your child gives out
This explains why speech and language pathways are the basis for learning and development.
It’s not because he’s being difficult and lazy.
A child with speech and language difficulties in either of these areas will often feel frustrated and misunderstood. But sadly, without his parents and teachers understanding the root cause, his behavior will be treated as misbehavior or laziness, creating a vicious cycle of frustration, “misbehavior” and more frustration.
So how do I know if my child needs speech or language therapy?
Every child is unique and develops at their own pace. However, the following is a list of common difficulties and struggles that often indicate a speech or language problem.
- Difficulty finding the right word when talking/often uses placeholder words such as “um”
- Using tenses (past, present, future) incorrectly
- Difficulty understanding what other people have said
- Difficulty organizing thoughts when relating something
- Appearing overly sensitive when with peers due to constant ‘misunderstandings’
- Pronouncing certain sounds incorrectly
- Seeming overly shy or awkward when approaching others
- Difficulty turn taking, giving in, winning or losing gracefully when involved in group activities
- Struggles when conversing and interacting appropriately with peers
- Difficulty completing a task within the regular allotment of time
- Struggles when following directions
- Difficulty finding good solutions to everyday problems
How do I know which milestones my child should be reaching at each age?
If you know where your child should be up to, you’ll be better informed to decide whether or not he might need therapy.
Check out this list of appropriate speech and language milestones for children ages 3-6, (courtesy of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association).
At 3-4 years of age your child should be able to:
- Talk about activities at school or at friends’ homes
- Talk about what happened during the day, using about 4 sentences at a time
- Be understood by people outside of his/her family
- Answer simple “who,” “what,” and “where” questions
- Ask “when” and “how” questions
- Say rhyming words, like hat-cat
- Use basic pronouns, like “I,” “you,” “me,” “we,” and “they”
- Use some plural words, like “toys,” “birds,” and “buses”
- Talk easily without repeating syllables or words
- By 4-5 years of age your child should be able to:
- Listen to a short story and answer simple questions about it
- Understand and retell a basic story sequence
- Speak using imaginary conditions, such as “I hope”
- Use the past tense correctly
- Identify basic colors (red, blue, yellow and green)
- Identify basic shapes (triangles, circles and squares)
- Understand basic time concepts such as “In the morning”, “next”, “nighttime”
At 5-6 years of age your child should be able to:
- Use basic adverbs and prepositions in running speech
- Understand the concept of “same” and “different” and be able to compare how things are the same/different
- Relate common opposite pairs, like “big/little”
- Use basic adjectives when describing
- Ask questions to gain information
- Retell simple stories
- Distinguish left and right hand in their own body
- Define object function (you eat with a fork) and tell what objects are made of
- Express spatial relations like “on top”, “behind”, “far” and “near”
If you think your child might benefit from speech therapy, what are the next steps?
You can make an appointment with your family doctor to rule out other potential causes and get a referral to see a specialist.
Alternatively you can book a speech and language assessment directly with a pediatric speech therapist. In terms of insurance, some plans provide coverage while others don’t. Read our guide to insurance coverage for speech therapy for more information.
Looking for a speech therapist in Ocean County or Middlesex County NJ?Contact us here
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