When Do You Need to Take Your Child to a Speech Language Therapist?
When your child has a communication disorder, it can take a toll on their social development as well as their participation at school. Untreated it can begin to affect their confidence and development as they step into adulthood. More often than not, the signs and symptoms of speech difficulties start showing early on and you need to consult a Speech and Language Therapist to initiate treatment early on for maximum benefit. Your child can enroll in pediatric speech and language therapy and can improve their communication and interactions with others. Here are some pointers put forth by our experts.
Indicators in 0-3 months – The child doesn’t smile at you and others, startles at loud sounds or seems to recognize your voice. The child does not make cooing sounds or cries change for different needs.
This may seem normal to most people, but it isn’t the case. Your child should be able to smile and react in at least some way when he or she is being spoken to. When the infant doesn’t smile, respond in anyway with others, it can be a red flag.
Indicators in 4-6 Months – At this point, the child should be moving their eyes in the direction of sounds, respond to changes in the tone of your voice, notice toys that make sound or music, coos and babbles when playing alone or with someone. The child starts babbling, and may make speech-like sounds like pa, ba and mi. If the child is not doing any of the above by this stage then it can indicate the possibility of a developmental delay, and require a consultation with a pediatrician and a speech language therapist in Dubai or wherever you are based.
Indicators in 7-12 Months – This is when a child babbles long strings of sounds like mimi or babababa, looks when you point, turn to their name, starts to respond to simple phrases like “no, come here, and want more,” plays interactive games with you like peek-a-boo, and uses sounds and gestures to get attention. The child may begin to say a few simple words by the first year like mama, dada, baba. This is the stage when it is a bit difficult to assess whether your child is lagging behind other kids or it is just that they need some more time to reach this milestone. Also, if the child does not use their hands for interactions, pointing, waving or playing around, you may need to consult a speech language therapist.
Indicators in 12-24 Months – During this stage, the child should be able to point/identify on self a few body parts (nose, eyes, mouth), follow simple 1-step directions, attend/list to simple stories and songs, point to pictures in a book when you name them, uses a lot of new words, and uses the sounds p, b, m, h and w in the words. Closer to the 24th month mark, the child should be able to put two words together like “more apple, no bed, mommy book.” Developing these skills may vary a bit during this year, however they should be developed by 24 months. If not, consult with a speech language therapist.
Indicators in 24-36 Months – At this age, the child should be able to understand simple opposites like up/down, stop/go, simple 2-step directions (get the ball and roll it) and understand new words. The child should also have a word for everything in their environment, talks about things that are not in the room, uses the sounds k, g, f, t, d, and n in words, uses 2-3 words to talk about or ask for things and their speech is easily understood by those that are familiar. If the child’s speech is difficult to comprehend, and if they are having issues interacting with other children, then you should consult with a speech language therapist without delay.
Indicators in 36-48 months – At this age, the child should respond when called from another room, understands some words for basic colors/shapes and words for familiar family members. The child should be able to answer simple questions, asks when and how questions, uses some pronouns/plurals and talks in sentences. Most people should be able to understand what the child is saying.
Indicators in 48-60 months – At this age, the child understands words for time like today, yesterday or tomorrow, follows longer directions, understands classroom instructions, and hears/understands most of what is said at home and in school. The child should be able to say all speech sounds by now, however may make mistakes on sounds that are harder to say (l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh and th). The child should be able to name letters and numbers, use sentences with more than one action word, tell a short story and is able to keep a conversation going.
These are some of the pointers that will help you take an informed decision when it comes to selecting a SLP for your little one. We, at Q Enrichment, offer a wide range of services for correcting kids’ speech or language disorders. Contact us today to know more about how our speech therapy in Dubai can assist your child in the best way possible.