How Long Will My Child Need Speech Therapy?
Often when speech and language therapy is recommended for a child, one of the first questions parents have is, “For how long will my child need speech therapy?”
As much as our Cleveland speech-language pathologists (SLPs) would love to give parents an answer, the reality is there are numerous factors to consider before offering even an educated guess.
What we can say is that Therapy and Wellness Connection aims to maximize the time we have with your child by having speech therapy sessions at home or in school with our clients. This helps facilitate faster carry-over so that the lessons we’re teaching stick. That can cut down on the length of time your child needs to remain in therapy.
Factors That Can Affect Speech Therapy Timeline
Some of the things that can influence how long your child receives speech and language therapy:
- The nature of your child’s speech challenge. For instance, if we’re talking about a simple articulation disorder, that can be addressed much faster than if a child has a speech delay or disorder due to conditions like apraxia of speech or oral motor challenges. Further, if your child has a language disorder as opposed to a speech impairment, it can take longer to address. Speech refers to talking. It’s the form of oral communication. Language is the whole system of words, symbols and gestures to receive and convey meaning. A child with a language disorder may have trouble expressing themselves (expressive language disorder) or understanding messages coming from others (receptive language disorders).
- The severity of their condition. If we’re dealing with an articulation disorder, it might just be a single sound that’s affected. If it’s multiple sounds though, treatment will take longer. With language, children with receptive language disorders tend to need therapy for longer than those solely with expressive language disorders.
- How old your child is/how soon you sought speech therapy intervention. Children with speech and language disorders and delays tend to require less therapy the younger they are when they come to us. If at all possible, early intervention (before age 5) is preferred. That’s because there is critical brain development that occurs during that window. Lessons taught in early intervention are better cemented in a child’s brain – plus they have less of a chance to pick up bad habits.
- Whether there are other disorders present (comorbidity). A child who has other conditions present such as autism spectrum disorder, down syndrome, auditory processing disorder or cerebral palsy – they are likely to need speech therapy for longer than a child who is solely working on a single issue.
- The competence of your SLP. Don’t be shy about asking your Cleveland speech therapist about his or her level of experience and expertise in dealing your child’s particular speech or language challenge.
- Your commitment as a parent. Effective speech therapy needs to be consistent. And parents need to be committed to follow-through with carry-over of our recommendations in everyday life. That’s not always easy, but there are substantial long-term rewards.
A Time Investment in Your Child’s Future
In our view, timelines tend to be less important than the progress you see and the benefits reaped. Speech therapy has a wide range of benefits that include:
- Improved social skills.
- Better swallowing habits.
- Accelerated cognitive growth.
- Improved reading and writing.
Think of this as an investment in your child’s future. We’re happy to help answer any questions you have!
Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Akron, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and Cleveland. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.
Treatment and Persistence of Speech and Language Disorders in Children, 2016, National Academy of Sciences
More Blog Entries:
Questions to Ask Your Child’s New Cleveland Speech Therapist, Feb. 3, 2020, Cleveland Speech Therapy Blog