23 Mar
Concerned about speech?

Are you concerned about your little ones speech? Is it hard to understand them at times? Maybe you notice they say a particular sound inappropriately. Maybe they forget to say a sound or syllable all together. Here's some tips on what to listen for and when to seek help from a speech language pathologist:

1. Does your child try to communicate verbally but have a hard time being understood in connected speech (phrases, sentences, conversation)? 

If so, this could be a speech impairment impacting their intelligibility. If you can get them to slow down and repeat themselves with improved intelligibility that's great. If not, you may want to consider reaching out to a speech therapist and mention this concern. 

2. Does your child replace one sound for another? For example, instead of saying 'fish' they may say 'pish' or 'tat' for 'cat'. 

If so, your child may have a phonological disorder. If you can get your child to remediate or fix the error by giving them a model of the correct production then that means they are stimulable for the sound and may in take fix it on their own or with your assistance. Even so, they may require therapy to address. 

3. Does your child leave off sounds or syllables in words? For example 'ma' could mean 'mom' or 'mop' when the final sound is missing. 

This could make it hard to understand what word they are trying to say. In our example, try to model the target word for your child and see if they can produce the target sounds with your help. Typically a speech language pathologist is needed to address these types of errors. 

4. Does your child not produce certain sounds or produces certain sounds with a distorted quality? 

Developmentally speaking, children are expected to develop sound production in a sequential fashion. When giving parents specific material on this topic, I like to refer to the Iowa Nebraska Norms. Note: variations between boy and girls. If your child is not meeting expected sound production for their age seek assistance from a speech language pathologist. 

5. Does your child repeat words or phrases? 

This could be a fluency disorder but it is important to know that therapy is not required for this particular area before age 5 (as it could resolve on it own). 

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of questions to consider when concerned about your child's speech. It is best to reach out to a trained speech language pathologist to learn more about your child's specific case. 

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