From their first smile, to their first words, their growing independence (“no!”), to their seemingly endless quest to know more (“why?”), to sharing a silly knock-knock joke…a child’s ability to communicate goes through many stages in the first years of life.
As we celebrate each new milestone, it is easy to take for granted the development of such an important skill. Although the stages that children pass through in the development of speech and language are consistent, the exact age when they hit these milestones varies greatly.
When communication milestones seem late or when a child has difficulty communicating, it can be difficult for parents to know whether their child is just a late bloomer or if they have a speech or language problem. A speech or language problem can have a significant effect on the child’s social and academic skills and behavior. The earlier a child’s speech and language problems are identified and treated, the less likely it is that problems will persist or get worse.
What can I do if I am concerned about my child’s speech and language development?
- Use resources such as those below from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to learn about typical communication developmental milestones.
- Discuss your concerns with other adults involved with your child’s care – family members, daycare/preschool teachers, and your pediatrician/family physician. Do they have similar concerns?
- Bring your child to a local “Child Find” or Preschool Screening.*
- Seek an evaluation from an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist within a private practice or affiliated with a hospital. You can obtain a referral from your pediatrician or do an online search.
For more resources, check out the following pages on ASHA’s website:
- What Is Language? What Is Speech?
- Social Language Use (Pragmatics)
- How Does Your Child Hear and Talk? (Birth to 5 years)
- Your Child’s Communication Development: Kindergarten Through Fifth Grade
*Milford Residents 3-5 years of age who are not currently enrolled in our public school system are eligible to attend a Preschool Screening at Jacques Memorial School. These are being held three times per year – December, February, and April. To book an appointment for April 15, 2015 call 673-6709.
Blog written by:
Beth Girard, MA, CCC-SLP
Jacques Memorial School