Have you ever had concerns about your child’s speech and language development, asked your pediatrician or even friends about what to do and are told to “wait and see” or even told that “they might grow out of it?”
This is the type of advice that makes me cringe when I hear it!
I’m sure you’ve heard that the early years of your child’s life are the most important for building strong language skills. Not only is your child’s brain developing extremely fast during this time, but he/she is more open to learning and more receptive to enriching experiences than he/she will ever be.
Does every child with a communication delay need speech therapy? No, but if you have concerns, having your child evaluated by a speech language pathologist and finding out that your child is not significantly delayed for his/her age is way better than the alternative. Treating communication and language difficulties early on can prevent potential problems with behavior, learning, reading and social interaction. Recently, there has been research on brain development that reminds us that “earlier is better” when teaching young children. By age 3, most of the major brain structures are mature and it becomes more difficult to make significant changes in a child’s growth and development after this time.
A “wait and see” approach means that precious time can be lost during this critical learning phase. My advice when a parent has concerns with their child’s speech and language development is always to seek out a screening or formal evaluation from a speech language pathologist. If your child does not need intervention, great!
However, if your child does need help with his/her communication development, then by receiving speech therapy early you can get resources, support and information to help your child. Your child will also develop improved communication skills, relationships and behavior. Communication development also sets the stage for literacy and influences later success in school.
If you have concerns about your child’s speech and/or language development, please contact your local early intervention center or a private speech therapist to determine if services are needed. Here at Wee Speak, we offer free screenings for those who are not sure if their child’s communication skills are delayed or not. Please do not “wait and see!”