For thousands of parents up and down the UK, the question as to whether or not the time has come to speak to a speech and language specialist for their own child is one that’s wrestled with day in and day out. According to the experts at integratedtreatmentservices.co.uk, the public as a whole has never been more aware of the fact that language development should be nurtured from the earliest possible age in order to give any child the best possible chance of a strong future and healthy development.
However, knowing exactly how to determine when and where professional help is needed is difficult for the simple fact that all children develop at different speeds and are inherently unique across the board. As such, what’s perfectly normal in one case might very well constitute a problem in another, which is why there’s no specific checklist to follow in order to identify a problem, but rather a set of guidelines to be aware of.
For example, if it’s becoming apparent that your child speech development simply isn’t moving along as it should be, it’s a good idea to speak to a professional. It’s worth remembering that comparing any two kids like for like is totally counterproductive as there will always be huge differences, but at the same time there are certain language and speech skills that children should have picked up by certain ages.
You may also be doing your child’s development a favour if you pick up on any signs that point to any other common speech development issues, like a childhood stammer for example. In a nutshell therefore, anything that seems to be an obvious abnormality constitutes something that it’s worth getting checked out just to be on the safe side.
While there will always be plenty of obvious warning signs of a problem that’s beginning to manifest, there are also many instances where the only thing you have to go on is silence. One of the most commonly overlooked signs of a speech development problem of all is that of a child showing any kind of reluctance to respond, or to speak in general. There will always be those cases when the child in question is simply a quieter individual than others, but when and where it becomes apparent that they are deliberately or instinctively shying away from speaking, this is something that needs to be looked into.
The reason for this is the fact that when it comes to many childhood speech problems like stammering for example, it’s common for the child to feel such frustration and shame when they try to speak that they do their best not to speak at all. They understand what you’re saying and so are definitely picking up language skills and are prone to making gestures which in turn confirms an understanding of basic communication. However, if the speech portion of the subject is somehow missing from the equation, there could be a reason why they aren’t as chatty as they might be.
In all such instances therefore, it’s a good idea to speak to a professional for a little guidance and perhaps an initial consultation.
While difficulties in grasping language correctly can indeed indicate a developmental issue, it’s also important to take into account what any given child doesn’t say. The reason for this is that while certain speech and language issues present in the form of audible warning signs, others are characterised by a general lack of speech or reluctance to speak.
Last in the list comes one of the trickiest of all to identify and nail – what exactly constitutes ‘poor’ progress?
Well, the simple answer here is that if your child doesn’t seem to be picking up any new skills and has instead fallen into something of a developmental rut, there may be a reason that needs to be investigated and addressed. One example could be any signs that they are still only capable of baby talk after several months, or perhaps that they seem wholly unable to repeat what you say a little further down the line. In addition, if a child appears to be unresponsive when spoken to, it could be a sign that they’re having trouble understanding the words themselves and therefore have a language/communication problem that needs to be addressed.
In any and all instances however, there’s really no harm in getting in touch with a qualified professional at any time just to have the child’s case looked into and to make sure there’s nothing amiss. And if there is, at least this way it can be addressed and corrected as quickly as possible.