If you have a child three years of age or younger, you may notice problems with his or her speech that worry you. While all children develop different skills at varying ages, there are things parents should know about speech development and problems that commonly affect young children. The sooner you can get help for your child, he or she can begin correcting problems before starting school.
Speech Disorders And Children
Speech disorders can affect your child in different ways. The child may have trouble talking plainly and understanding, analyzing or processing information. Speech problems can also affect the child's voice quality, clarity, and fluency of words spoken.
Language disorders can accompany speech problems. The child may have difficulty holding meaningful conversations, reading and comprehending, understanding others, solving problems, and expressing him or herself through written or spoken words.
Pediatric speech therapists work with children to help improve all communication skills.
Signs of Speech Disorders
Preschoolers should show signs of understanding language and be able to follow simple directions. If your child cannot do some of the following tasks at two to three years of age, you may want to have him or her evaluated by a speech pathologist.
- Child's speech is understood by parents and familiar listeners
- Child understands differences in meaning of simple words, like stop and go or big and little
- He or she can combine at least three words into a sentence
- The child can understand simple questions
- Child recognizes at least two colors
Understanding Developmental Milestones
Children can understand and use specific language skills at they develop and grow. If you concerned about your preschool child's development, ask your pediatrician for a full list of milestones for speech and language for various ages of development. The list should contain what a child should respond to and be able to do at different ages. If your child is not able to do three or more of the skills listed for his or her age group, you should consider having your child tested for delays in hearing, speech, and language development.
Testing Early Is Best
The age at which you have your child tested relies heavily on when you realize that there may be an issue. The earlier you recognize speech, hearing, or language problems in your child, the sooner he or she can be evaluated and treated. Speech pathologists can treat children from infancy up to adolescence. If you are concerned about your child at any age, he or she should be seen for an initial consultation and communication evaluation. Keep in mind that the early months and years of your child's life are important to developing good emotional and social skill development and intelligence.
If you notice a problem in your child at any time, which can include not hearing or speaking properly, contact a pediatric speech therapy professional. He or she can get your child in for an evaluation to determine if a problem exists and discuss how best to treat it. For more information about pediatric speech therapy, contact a facility such as Achieve Center.