Early Childhood Speech Therapy
If you notice that your child is not communicating as well as other children his or her age, it is important to discuss your concerns about speech and language development with your pediatrician.
Many young children struggle with communication skills, but soon catch up with their peers. Your pediatrician may advise a "wait and see" approach, or may recommend an assessment with a speech-language pathologist, also known as a speech therapist.
When speech and language disorders are identified and treated early, problems with behavior, learning, reading and social interaction can be avoided.
The speech therapist will assess your child by:
- Gathering a medical history.
- Interviewing the parents, who will be asked questions about their child's initial use of speech sounds and language, as well as his or her current communication abilities.
- Giving specific tests, applying age-appropriate methods that engage them in activities that naturally lead to the use of speech and a variety of communication skills. For very young children, this is often in a play-like context.
- Evaluating non-verbal communication skills.
The therapist will analyze the results of the assessment, looking specifically at your child's ability to:
- Produce spoken sounds and words
- Understand spoken language
- Express themselves using language
This assessment will be discussed with the parents and a treatment plan with specific goals will be created.
Depending on your child's needs, areas of focus may include:
- Auditory comprehension/receptive language skills: the ability to understand spoken language
- Expressive language skills: the ability to communicate ideas effectively
- Speech articulation: the ability to produce speech that is easily understood
- Speech fluency: targeting stuttering
Therapy sessions last 45 minutes. Each session involves a variety of fun activities that address your child's age, developmental level and preferences.
For very young children, activities often appear to be play but provide opportunities for interactive communication. The therapist will model correct language and encourage your child to use specific vocabulary or sentence structures, with an emphasis on recognizing their successes.
You as a parent are included in your child's treatment process. You will be provided with home programs that include activities to stimulate speech and language development in your child's everyday environment.
Speech-language therapy requires a physician referral. To learn more, call 714-456-6682.