Top 3-Reasons to See a Speech Therapist

As a child, I attended Speech Therapy due to a terrible stuttering habit I developed. The memories of my time spent in the small classroom with my therapist, Mr. Baptiste, are positive ones. Mr. Baptist was incredibly patient and kind which made a world of difference. Our sessions were fun and didn’t feel like work at all.

When my youngest child displayed some speech issues I was quick to enlist the help of his school and pediatrician. I knew that Early Intervention was key in getting him on track and didn’t want to delay getting him the help he needed.

For over a year my son attended both in-school sessions that were supplemented by a private weekly session. I’m proud to say he graduated out of needing speech services after two years.

I reached out to Ashley B. Scott of ChatterNola who provided us with helpful signs that may indicate your child may need to enlist the help of a Speech-Language Pathologist.

Top 3 Reasons to See a Speech-Language Pathologist

Feeding/Swallowing Concerns- This includes infants who have trouble taking nutrition from the breast or bottle.

  • Difficulties could include maternal pain (sore, cracked, lipstick shaped nipples while nursing, chronic mastitis, thrush), coughing/choking/gagging at the breast/bottle, trouble transitioning to solid foods, excessive drooling or drinking while eating, picky eating.

Delayed speech and/or language-

  • This includes babies that don’t smile big by 3 months of age.

  • Doesn’t respond to his/her name by 9 months.

  • Doesn’t wave or point by 12 months.

  • Fails to follow simple directions by 1 year.

  • Has less than 25 words by 18 months.

  • Doesn’t speak in phrases by 24 months.

  • The child doesn't use sentences of 3,4,5 words by age three.

  • Doesn’t use his/her words to make requests or gain attention.

Concerns with social skills-

  • Difficulty engaging in play. Limits or avoids eye contact.

  • Avoids groups/crowds.

  • Plays alone in the presence of peers and doesn’t initiate contact with peers.

  • The child doesn’t bring items to show or play with caregivers.

  • Plays with the same toys in a very specific way.

  • Shows more interest in objects than people.

The American Speech-Speech-Language Association has wonderful tips to help you and your child understand and use words. Below are just a few from their website.

Birth to 2 Years

  • Say sound like "ma," "da," and "ba." Try to get your baby to say them back to you.

  • Look at your baby when he makes sounds. Talkback to him, and say what he says. Pretend to have a conversation.

  • Respond when your baby laughs or makes faces. Make the same faces back to her.

  • Teach your baby to do what you do, like clapping your hands and playing peek-a-boo.

  • Talk to your baby as you give him a bath, feed him, and get him dressed. Talk about what you are doing and where you are going. Tell him who or what you will see.

  • Point out colors and shapes.

  • Count what you see.

2 to 4 Years

  • Speak clearly to your child. Model good speech.

  • Repeat what your child says to show that you understand. Add on to what she says. Use words like, "Want juice? I have juice. I have apple juice. Do you want apple juice?"

  • It's okay to use baby talk sometimes. Be sure to use the adult word too. For example, "It is time for din-din. We will have dinner now."

4 to 6 Years