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It’s a question many parents end up asking themselves. Does my child need speech therapy, or are his stutterings, mispronounced words, or unintelligible sentences simply growing pains that time will iron out? Am I worrying needlessly, or perhaps ignoring something that might make a big difference in the future of my child?
It’s important we stay alert to signals that our children might need extra help—a little early speech therapy can go a long way to help your child have normal experiences as he grows. But there’s also a wide range of normal, and an unintelligible period or a little stuttering is nothing to worry about.
Signs Your Child Might Benefit From Speech Therapy
Here are three signs you may want to sign your child up for an assessment with a speech therapist:
- Your one year old isn’t trying out any words at all. He doesn’t have to be talking Shakespeare, but your one year old should be trying to communicate with you, and he should have a half dozen words under his belt, however badly he may pronounce them.
- You—and other family members—can’t understand your two year old. It’s normal for a small child’s speech to be so garbled and slurred that strangers can’t make out what your little person wants to say. By the time your child is two years old, though, he should be joining words together, and you should be able to understand them even if the rest of the world doesn’t.
- Your child’s speech isn’t improving over time. Don’t compare your child to other children, but to himself. If he isn’t improving, slowly but surely, you may want to sign him up for a checkup.
Remember, even if you bring your child in and he is labeled as having ‘delayed speech’ or being ‘in need of intensive speech therapy’ don’t feel discouraged: this says nothing about either his intelligence or his future potential. Speech troubles are one rock in the road leading to your child’s future success, but—maybe with a little help from a friend—your child should be able to get past it without any scars.
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