In honor of May being Better Speech and Hearing Month, let’s talk about what a Speech Therapist (also known as “Speech-Language Pathologist) does, and when your child should see one!
What is a Speech Therapist?
A Speech Therapist is a nationally certified, Masters-level professional who specializes in treating children with delays or difficulties in speaking, including trouble articulating certain sounds or putting words together to make sentences. A Speech Therapist can also help children who have difficulty with receptive language (understanding words or directions). Some Speech Therapists specialize in Literacy, and can help children who have what’s known as Language-based Reading Disorders. Certain Speech-Language Pathologists might specialize in feeding.
Does my Child Speech Therapy?
If you have concerns in any of the following areas, it might be helpful to talk to your Pediatrician about getting your child a referral to be evaluated by a Speech Therapist:
- Trouble pronouncing certain sounds.
- Speech is difficult to understand.
- Frustration because of difficulties communicating or with others’ ability to understand their speech.
- Not meeting speech & language milestones at the expected ages.
- Asks for repetitions often, or has trouble following directions/remembering what they were told.
- He or she is a very picky eater, and you’re concerned about their nutrition and/or weight gain.
- Falling behind with reading, writing, and/or spelling.
Is my Child Too Young for Speech Therapy?
Most likely, no!
Even very young children can benefit from Speech Therapy to improve their speech, language, or feeding skills!
What Happens in Speech Therapy?
First, you’ll want to talk to your child’s pediatrician about your concerns and ask for a referral to see a Speech Therapist. After finding one in your area, you can schedule an evaluation. During that evaluation, the Speech Therapist will talk about your concerns and assess your child’s skills.
If therapy is recommended, the therapist will discuss how frequent sessions will be held (sometimes twice a week for 30 minutes, sometimes 1 time per week for an hour, or other frequencies).
Therapy is typically play-based, and the therapist will work on improving your child’s speech, language, or feeding skills through fun, motivating activities! You’ll likely observe or participate in the sessions as well, and the therapist will talk about specific goals to work on with your child at home, and what strategies you can use.
Remember, our Join the Story Box Parent Guides are curated by a nationally-certified Speech-Language Pathologist. So they’re full of activities you can use with your child to stimulate their speech and language skills!
Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist
Proud Member of The Story Box Family