How do you know if your child is taking her time learning to talk, or if she is suffering from a speech delay and needs professional intervention? Every child meets milestones at her own pace. She may not have the same language skills as her brother did at that age or the other kids in your circle. But if you're worried, the best thing to do is find out what is going on.
A child with speech delay has speech development that is typical of a normally developing child of a younger chronologic age; the speech-delayed child's skills are acquired in a normal sequence, but at a slower-than-normal rate.
Frequent ear infections can cause speech delay. If a child can't hear well, he can't form words correctly. Your pediatrician can rule out physical impediments to language development. A speech and language pathologist can evaluate your child for speech disorder.
Lauren Olsen, an editor at USA Today, shared her experience in a recent article. She noticed her two-year-old daughter was frustrated when trying to communicate. Tests revealed that little Rachel was two and a half years behind her age group in speech and language skills.
Weekly sessions of speech therapy helped Rachel improve, though progress was slower than her parents would have hoped. Her scores on speech tests continually fell shy of the range for a “typical” child her age. It felt like she’d never catch up.
But perserverence paid off and after six years, Rachel is now on par with her classmates in language skills. Speech delay can affect a child's social and educational development. Olsen says that those years of therapy, "changed the trajectory" of her daughter's life.
There is hope and a strategy for dealing with your child's speech problems. We are blessed with caring professionals who have the talent and training to address the issues of speech delay. Every parent has resources to ensure that their children can communicate with the rest of the world.
Speech and language pathologists earn above average salaries. If you are interested in a position, contact us to learn what is available.
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