As your infant grows, you’re likely looking forward to them saying their first words. This milestone is special and memorable. However, you may notice over time your child isn’t communicating as effectively as children in their age group. If you notice your little one isn’t pronouncing words correctly or has a hard time getting words out, you may want to consider in home pediatric services, such as speech therapy.
Does your child need in home pediatric services?
What Is Speech Therapy?
A speech therapist and audiologist, Ashira Segal, states this form of therapy entails a “spectrum of development in children.” This includes feeding, as well as language speech and the social implications of language, also known as pragmatics. Your child will learn new skills as they develop and learn. Sometimes a child can benefit from therapy if they’re having a difficult time learning an age-appropriate skill.
A speech therapist will assist your child by using oral motor therapy. For instance, if your little one needs to strengthen their lip or jaw muscles; or needs to speak clearer; the therapist will use a variety of techniques to focus on certain sounds in speech. If you live in Florida and think your child needs speech therapy, you can explore options for in-home pediatric therapy in Florida. These in-home services allow your child to receive necessary services while you and your family follow proper social distancing guidelines.
Can Your Child Benefit from Speech Therapy?
Segal states some parents may notice their child isn’t pronouncing certain sounds at a certain age. When parents realize they’re the only ones who understand their children, speech therapy may be necessary.
According to Segal, babies start learning from the time they’re born. They’re listening to sounds and learning to tell the difference between sounds so they can start articulating language. When a child is around nine months, they have internalized enough sounds and need to develop motor skills to start vocalizing the sounds.
If you decide to put your child in speech therapy between the ages of 0-3 years old, the speech therapist will teach your little one prelinguistic skills. These skills are essential for effective communication.
Pre-linguistic skills are:
- taking turns
- verbal and non-verbal requests
- joint focus
If your child is between the ages of 0-5 years old, they’ll learn body parts, colors, and shapes in speech therapy. Children will also learn about proper syntax and sentence structure. They’ll acquire the necessary skills to:
- comprehend speech
- distinguish the meaning of sound
- understand spoken information
- follow instructions
These skills are crucial for school-age children and little ones who are preparing for school.
Speech therapy also helps children perfect their oral motor skills. Children won’t be able to eat properly if their tongues aren’t able to push food back or their jaws aren’t strong enough to chew properly. This not only affects the way a child speaks but can cause digestive issues.
What Is Considered Normal Speech?
Some speech mistakes are normal depending on the child’s age, but others are cause for concern. For instance, if a three-year-old substitutes the “r” sound for the “w” sound, i.e. saying “wabbit” instead of “rabbit,” this is appropriate for the child’s age. However, if a child this age leaves out the beginning sounds of words, like saying “og” for “frog,” this may be a sign your child needs speech therapy. This is why it’s important to know what sounds or words your child should be forming at each developmental stage.
For instance, by the time a baby is six months, they should be able to recognize vowel sounds. You may also hear your baby growling or squealing at this age. Once a baby is about one year old, they should start making simple vowel and consonant sounds together, such as “ma” or “ba.” As a child nears the first year of life, he should start responding to his name when you call him.
Once your child is around five years old, they should have over 2,000 words in their vocabulary and you should understand all of the words they say. A five-year-old should also understand time concepts, i.e. today, tomorrow, yesterday.
Speech therapy can assist your child in learning to speak well and can boost your little one’s confidence when communicating with others. It’s best to start speech therapy as soon as you notice speech issues with your child, but your little one can likely benefit from speech therapy during any phase of early childhood.
About the Writer: Regina Thomas is a Southern California native who spends her time as a freelance writer and loves cooking at home when she can find the time. Regina loves reading, music, hanging with her friends and family along with her Golden Retriever, Sadie. She loves adventure and living every day to the fullest.