Difficulties with speech-language development is nonbiased and may touch the lives of any family regardless of socio-economic status or cultural background. Because of the diversity of issues that may be present, there is the potential for confusion in understanding how to remediate issues and when to begin intervention.
How could speech therapy help my kid?
Is my child too old or too young to benefit from speech therapy?
Why did my doctor refer my child for speech therapy?
I have specific concerns about my child’s communication, is this something speech therapy can address?
You are not alone: these are some questions that a speech therapist can answer during almost every evaluation. The goal of this post is not only to answer some questions, but to give parents and guardians an idea of what speech therapy is and how it may benefit your child. Specifically, what a pediatric speech therapist may treat, an example of an evaluation, and how to get started if you feel your child may benefit from speech therapy.
Who do pediatric speech therapists treat?
Pediatric clinics serve kids off all ages, from 0-18 years old.
Isn’t 0-3 years old too young for therapy?
Nope! Many children from the ages of 3 and under do very well in therapy. Younger children are often more flexible in their communication and learn new skills more quickly. Therapy for our youngest clients is often play based intervention accompanied by a home-based program.
Are speech therapists available during COVID19?
Yes, we are- In fact, speech therapy is considered an essential service and has remained available through-out the pandemic. Our clinic follows CDC and state-based guidelines for PPE use and implement a cleaning protocol. We ask anyone not feeling well to stay at home. Most parents wait in their car during appointments; however, some exceptions can be made to accompany a child into a therapy room when depending on a child’s needs. In addition, we offer telehealth! This allows for treatment at home, and many kids love showing their therapist their favorite toys and activities. Telehealth can be offered on an ongoing basis, or on a weekly basis depending on what would serve our families best.
What do pediatric speech therapists treat?
Ah yes, the big question. The answer is... a lot. Speech therapists assess, diagnose, and treat disorders related to communication. Communication encapsulates a vast array of skills, which may include:
What would an evaluation look like?
A speech pathologist will determine if your child is demonstrating skills consistent with their peers. Research has demonstrated trends of development that are considered “typical” for all age ranges. If your child falls in the average range for their age, then speech therapy won’t be needed. However, if they are placed outside of the average, then therapy will be recommended. Testing may include but not limited to:
Speech pathologists have a variety of tools at their disposal to assist with the evaluation process. Through years of ongoing education and experience, speech therapists acquire many strategies to aid in the testing process and learn to gather information during naturally occurring interactions. This data can be used and compared to developmental norms to establish clear baseline levels of skills.
If I am interested in speech therapy for my child, what do I need to do?
Talk to your child’s primary physician about your concerns and to get a referral for a speech evaluation. Many pediatricians check speech and language milestones for their patients and will inform you if they are not developing at age expectations. If you have specific concerns about your child’s communication, your doctor may recommend a screening. This is a shorter session with a speech therapist to determine if further testing is needed.
What do I need to do to get ready for an evaluation?
Most clinic settings have an intake packet that is used to help choose the best evaluation tools for your child. Questions that are included pertain to their birth, medical and family histories, present level skills, and your child’s interests. Most testing situations are best served when a family arrives 10 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment, to give the evaluating therapist a chance to review this information and adjust their session accordingly.
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more, please reach out! We would be happy to speak with you to answer questions or help decide if speech therapy can benefit your family.
Stay safe, stay happy, and stay healthy everyone!