You want the best for your child, so when you begin to suspect that they may have a speech or language problem, you want to seek help as soon as possible. However, how do you tell the difference between a speech delay and normal development? It can be especially difficult when children are very young to determine whether or not you should be concerned. You may be considering bringing your child to a speech therapist as a result.

What is a Speech Therapist?

Speech therapists (also known as speech-language pathologists) are trained to help people with different speech disorders. Some disorders they can treat include:

  • Articulation disorders: Articulation disorders are when someone has difficulty saying certain sounds or words correctly. Lisps fall under this category. 
  • Fluency disorders: Fluency disorders are when someone has difficulty saying a complete word. For example, a stutter is a fluency disorder. 
  • Resonance or voice disorders: People with resonance disorders often have a hard time being understood when they speak. They may mumble or sound congested. 
  • Language disorders: If someone has trouble understanding other people or putting words together to form sentences, they may have a language disorder. 

A speech therapist works with individuals with these disorders to retrain their brain and mouth to communicate more clearly. 

If you are worried about your child’s communication, it never hurts to reach out to their healthcare professional for guidance. In the meantime, here are some warning signs that may indicate that your child has speech and language problems and may benefit from seeing a speech therapist. 

Signs of a Speech or Language Problem 

As a parent, you are intimately familiar with how your child communicates. You may have noticed some issues already, such as: 

  • You or someone else has difficulty understanding what your child says
  • People assume your child is younger than they are because of how they speak 
  • Your child is frustrated by how they speak 
  • Your child is teased because of how they speak 
  • Your child doesn’t use as many words as their peers
  • Your child has a stutter
  • Your child doesn’t seem to be interacting with others in an appropriate way
  • Your child struggles with reading or writing 

It can be difficult to judge when your child is young. Everyone develops at a different speed, and for some, speech and language is an uphill battle that will just take patience and time. The important thing to note is how much your child is improving. They should be able to understand other people and be understood by most other people by age three. 

Speech Development Milestones

Age Milestones
18 months old 
  • Learns how to say “no”
  • Uses about 10 words
  • Can understand the names of certain objects (“ball,” “car,” “doggy,” etc.)
  • Can answer the question “What’s this?”
  • Understands basic commands 
Two years old 
  • Can use a variety of consonants 
  • Can name and point to body parts
  • Can use two word combinations (“more milk”, etc.)
  • Listens to stories 
  • Can identify some pictures 
  • Uses around 50 words 
  • Can sing simple songs
Three years old 
  • Correctly pronounces their b’s, d’s, g’s, h’s, m’s, p’s, t’s, w’s, and y’s  
  • Can pronounce the final consonants in a word 
  • Can follow two-part instructions (“Go to your room and get your toy”)
  • Can use multiple word sentences
  • Asks “why?”
  • Can talk about the past
  • Has basic grammar skills
Four years old
  • Uses complete sentences
  • Uses proper grammar
  • Asks questions
  • Can answer “who” and “how” questions
  • Tells stories
  • Uses language during play
Five years old
  • Can explain how an object is used
  • Can answer “when” and “why” questions
  • Can talk about the past and the future
  • Can have detailed conversations
  • Doesn’t struggle to think of what to say
  • Is beginning to learn to read without difficulty

 

If your child begins to develop a stutter, it’s highly encouraged to promptly put them in speech therapy. Early intervention is key. If your child is school-aged and expresses frustration about communication, whether it is conveying their own thoughts or understanding others, bringing them into a speech pathologist for an assessment may be helpful.

Why Speech Therapy Matters

You want to promptly address the problem because a communication disorder can have a profound impact on your child for their entire life. Even a mild disorder can feel very isolating for children, which can impact both their social and academic lives. 

At Evergreen Home Healthcare, we have speech therapists on staff to help assist with our pediatric home health care program in Denver. If your child has medical complexities that impact their communication, they may benefit from working with a skilled speech therapist in the comfort of your home. If you’d like to learn more about our pediatric home health care services in Denver, contact us