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  • Writer's pictureChristi O'Donovan

What is speech therapy and how do I know if my child needs speech therapy?

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

What is speech therapy and how do I know if my child needs speech therapy?

If you’ve found yourself asking the question does my child needs speech therapy? You’ve come to the right place to get some answers. Whether it’s parental intuition or at the suggestion of your pediatrician, when asking "does my child need speech therapy?", it is best to discuss these concerns directly with a speech therapist and receive guidance on the best next steps. Some common observations that lead parents to this juncture are:

  • My child doesn’t seem to hear well because they don’t follow my directions.

  • I’ve noticed my child isn’t speaking in phrases and sentences like other kids their age.

  • My child seems to be struggling in school despite all of our best efforts and we just don’t know why.

  • People say they have a hard time understanding what my child is saying.

  • I’ve noticed at the park or during play dates my child doesn’t play with other kids.

  • My child tends to get easily distracted and has a hard time completing a task or staying focused on any one thing for very long.

  • My child is having a hard time recognizing letters and learning letter sounds.

  • We thought it was cute at first that my child said "tat" for "cat", but I am starting to feel concerned.

  • At first we thought we just had a picky eater on our hands, but now I am noticing my child consistently avoids certain textures and types of foods and meal time is becoming a real struggle.

Any of these observations (this is certainly not an exhaustive list of concerns) are valid concerns and may warrant an evaluation to determine what the underlying issues are. A comprehensive evaluation allows the speech therapist to look at a child’s skills from many different angles and see where the breakdowns are occurring, in turn guiding therapy recommendations and goals.

As we make a therapy plan, the goals we’ve developed and the severity of the deficits will guide the length and frequency of our sessions.

So, exactly what is speech therapy?

This is a great question! Speech therapy looks different for everyone as it is specifically tailored to the strengths and needs of a child. As no two children are the same, no two speech therapy sessions will be either. Using strategies and approaches rooted in evidence-based practice, combined with the child’s interests, age, and goals, the therapy session will be individualized to meet each child where they are. Speech therapists are a creative bunch and are great at making sure therapy is engaging, fun, and motivating. Hiding our techniques in games and preferred activities helps your child work toward their goals without feeling like it’s work!

Whether your child is receiving speech therapy for speech, language, literacy, feeding, social skills, executive functioning, stuttering, or for many of the other disorders treated by a speech therapist, parents are always an essential part of any therapy program.

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