When a young child's language skills seem to be developing slower than average, parents usually share their concerns with friends, family, or even the child's pediatrician. Frequently, the response to the parent's concerns are reasons not to worry.
- "It's just a stage."
- "She'll outgrow it."
- "Some children just develop slower than others."
Those well-meaning yet uninformed words of comfort may convince parents to consider a wait and see approach to their child's language development. However, speech-language pathologists have one message for these parents. That message is don't wait and see if your child's language issues go away.
Why Parents Shouldn't Wait
Addressing a child's language issues early is usually more effective and less expensive than treating when the child is older. Children treated early tend to have shorter treatment periods. Early intervention may even put the child on a normal developmental path by the time he or she starts school. Waiting can cause a child to have social and educational challenges. To highlight the importance of early treatment of communication issues, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has created an education campaign that includes the early signs of language issues.
What Parents Can Do
Parents can schedule an appointment to discuss their concerns with a speech-language pathologist. As an expert in child language development, that professional can determine if the child's communication issues call for an in-depth evaluation, which will show whether the child needs treatment. Also, parents of children aged three and under can contact their state's early intervention program to request a developmental screening to see if the child needs an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist.
You can learn more about speech therapy and language issues in the Healthcare section of our blog. If you're a speech-language pathologist or other allied health professional looking for a new job opportunity, contact us.
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