October 26, 2022

Who Is a Candidate for Speech Therapy?

Do you suspect that your child might have a communication disorder? Take a deeper look at the benefits of speech language therapy, how it works, and how to tell if your child may be a good candidate for treatment. 

Key takeaways:

  • Understand speech-language therapy and what issues it addresses
  • Signs that your child may be a candidate for speech-language therapy
  • What parents can do to help their children

Your child’s speech sound differences may be perfectly fine, and it’s normal for children to have difficulty pronouncing certain letter sounds. However, waiting to act on a potential communication disorder can make things difficult for children once they become school-aged. A speech-language evaluation will determine if your child is a candidate for speech-language therapy.

It can be nerve-wracking wondering if your child’s communication struggles will be with them for the rest of their lives. Speech-language therapy may be able to help. It is a specialized type of therapy that is used to improve communication skills.

This article will help identify who is a candidate for speech-language therapy, how it works, and what to expect when attending. Let’s dive in.

Understanding speech-language therapy and what issues it addresses

Speech therapy, often referred to by professionals as speech-language therapy, is the practice of supporting individuals with speech and language delays and/or disorders to articulate, communicate, and participate with greater success. Speech-language therapy works best when it is implemented at a young age, as beginning early can help children develop the skills needed to promote proper articulation and use of language.  Pediatric speech-language therapy typically utilizes fun play-based learning and activities to address concerns regarding:

  • Receptive Language
  • Expressive language
  • Articulation
  • Phonology
  • Motor planning and sequencing (apraxia)
  • Fluency
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Executive functioning
  • Reading and reading comprehension
  • Feeding

Speech-language therapy goes deeper than simply helping a person with their pronunciation. It can help with eating, learning ability, reading comprehension, social competence, memory, focus, and more.

Signs that your child may be a candidate for speech-language therapy 

Language is a learned skill that children develop at different paces, but in some cases, speech-language therapy is necessary to ensure that milestones are met at a rate that will promote comprehension and social participation in daily routines. If your child is displaying any of the following behaviors, an evaluation by a speech language pathologist may be in their best interest:

  • Isn’t babbling or making exploratory sounds with their voice
  • Has been stuttering or struggling to complete known words
  • Is showing inconsistency in speech sounds produced
  • Isn’t pointing or gesturing to indicate needs or awareness
  • Only says a small number of words as a toddler
  • Is making significant and frequent phonological mistakes (patterns of speech sounds substituted/deleted)
  • Is struggling to communicate and/or experiencing frustration when interacting with others
  • Is having word-finding difficulties and/or has a very limited vocabulary
  • Has trouble understanding and following simple statements
  • Has trouble following simple directions or responding to questions
  • Is extremely quiet in social situations
  • Shows a lack of interest in engaging with and playing with peers or developmentally appropriate toys/games
  • Is having trouble in other academic areas like reading and writing
  • Is having difficulty accurately producing simple speech sounds as a toddler
  • b, p, m, w, h
  • Has issues articulating certain sounds, letters, or letter patterns including later developing sounds:
  • k, g, f, t, d, n, s, th, and st

Understanding the signs of developmental speech-language disorders can be the key to getting early intervention. Early intervention ensures your child’s speech and language development needs are met as soon as possible to set them up for success.

What parents can do to help their children 

If you suspect your child may be experiencing developmental speech and/or language delays, there are steps you can take to get them the help they need:

Step 1: Assess your child’s spoken language developmental milestones:

  • By age 2, children should have around 50 words in their vocabulary
  • By age 3, parents and familiar caregivers should be able to catch around 75% of what their child says.
  • By age 5, children should be able to say most speech sounds

Step 2: Consult your child’s primary care pediatrician:

If your child is off the mark on these milestones, the next step would be to consult their pediatrician, who may run a series of tests including a hearing test, to rule out ear infections, neurological, or other developmental issues that may affect speech. If they suspect a speech-language or communication disorder, they may refer you to a speech-language pathologist for full evaluation and diagnosis.

Step 3: Practice at home in tandem with therapy: 

If it is determined that your child needs speech-language therapy, you can help further their development by completing speech-language strategies/exercises at home. Playing repetitive games, books, and/or songs in which your child practices specific sounds and words at home can have a significant impact on their success in therapy.

There are many ways parents can help their children overcome speech-language developmental delays. Finding the right professionals to work with your child is key to empowering them to communicate clearly and successfully.

Speech-language therapy with Lumiere Children’s Therapy

Lumiere Children’s Therapy has a reputation as one of Chicago’s top speech-language therapy centers. We are committed to helping children improve their speech and language development, empowering them to build meaningful relationships through enhanced communication. Our full-service, multidisciplinary pediatric therapy practice offers developmental services for children from birth to 18 years of age. Our wide range of services includes:

  • Speech language therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • ABA therapy
  • Social work
  • Therapeutic preschool
  • Enrichment classes
  • Parent classes
  • And more

At Lumiere Children’s Therapy, each child’s specific needs are addressed and met. We tailor our classes and programs to fit the needs and differences of each child and their family from feeding to more advanced communication. We believe in a hands-on approach that aims to benefit children while educating their families on how to positively encourage desired behaviors. At Lumiere Children’s Therapy, your child can benefit from our unique qualifications that go above and beyond required state guidelines, such as:

  • A qualified staff of therapists who have all earned Master’s or Doctorate certifications in their fields
  • 1:1 child/therapist ratio that promotes dedicated, individualized attention for your child
  • Easy and flexible scheduling – We make it work for you
  • A complete suite of services across all disciplines that can be provided at home (E.I.), school, or a clinical setting
  • Dedicated and passionate teams of specialists who communicate daily and work collaboratively
  • Physical therapists with specializations in infant PT
  • Quality curriculum and programs
  • A complimentary verification of insurance benefits
  • We are proud to offer teletherapy, so you can get the most out of our services regardless of where you’re located!

Find out more about our speech therapy services and discover how you can help empower your child through improved language skills and enrich their development with Lumiere Children’s Therapy. Contact us today!

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