Should I Take My Child to a Brecksville Speech Therapist?
As a long-time Brecksville speech therapist (and mother) I know well the fact that children develop at different paces and in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to speech and language.
Because let’s be honest: Learning a new language is hard!
Although human children are hard-wired to master their native tongue, slight delays are fairly common, and often will resolve themselves over time.
However, if you have concerns about your children’s speech and language progress, don’t let anyone – pediatrician, family member or even a spouse – stop you from trusting your gut and least getting an opinion from speech therapy professionals.
At Therapy & Wellness Connection, we recognize families are already pinched for time as it is and concerns about a child’s speech delay can be stressful. We’re not here to pile on services your child doesn’t need. What we do want is to give every youth the best possible opportunity to succeed long-term. If there is evidence of a noteworthy delay or challenge, we don’t want the skills’ deficit to snowball (and left untreated, it can). That’s why we recommend early intervention.
What Is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapists, formally known as “speech-language pathologists,” are professionals educated and trained to help those who have trouble speaking, but also understanding language and communicating socially. We also assist children (and adults) struggling to write and read, including those with dyslexia.
Speech therapy is a clinical process conducted with trained therapists to help your child talk over time. Therapy can be held at school, home, our clinic in Brecksville – or wherever services are most likely to have the greatest carryover success. The frequency and duration of speech-language therapy services will depend on the depth of a child’s deficits.
Although any person of any age might need speech therapy, pediatric speech therapists are focused on those under 18.
You do not need to wait until your child is talking to seek speech therapy. In fact, that critical “early intervention” window stretches from birth to age 5. If a child isn’t talking when it seems they should be (or as outlined by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s developmental guide), it’s a good idea to seek a screening and/or evaluation.
Your health insurance should cover the cost for evaluation and the speech-therapy services for as long as they are deemed medically necessary.
What Red Flags Should I Be Watching For?
With children, there are a number of so-called red-flags that might indicate a speech-language evaluation is needed. ASHA outlines several of these. Among the most common seen by our Brecksville speech therapists with children 1-2 years:
- Inability to respond to simple questions (“Who is that?” “What is he doing?”).
- Inability to follow simple, one-step directions (“Get the ball!” “Hug your doll!” “Look this way!”).
- Failure to respond/look/show reaction to his/her name.
- Does not point to objects or answer when asked where a certain body part is.
- Does not seem to be acquiring many if any new words.
- Cannot put together simple, two-word sentences.
As children get older, these deficits become more pronounced.
Our dedicated team can help you determine if services are necessary.
What to Expect at Initial Screening for Speech Therapy?
This often starts with a parent-initiated first screening. At this visit, an experienced speech therapist will hear your concerns and determine whether a more in-depth evaluation is necessary. Therapists will be looking not just for whether your child uses speech or other non-verbal forms of communication, but also how well they interpret language.
That clinical evaluation will offer a much better sense of whether pediatric speech language therapy is needed and outline specific goals.
It is also standard for a child to undergo a hearing test with an audiologist. Although detectable hearing loss or deafness in children is relatively rare (2-3 children out of 1,000), it can be tough to spot – especially given that 90 percent of these kids are born to parents who can hear, and thus don’t know the signs. If a child does have hearing loss, a Brecksville speech therapist will still be a part of the team that assists, but the treatment approach will be different.
Jaclyn McClymont, MA CCC-SLP, is Owner/Founder of Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations. We are a pediatric therapy center providing speech therapy to children Northeast Ohio. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email. Serving Brecksville, Akron, Cleveland and surrounding communities in Northeast Ohio.
Speech-Language Impairment: How to Identify the Most Common and Least Diagnosed Disability of Childhood, June 11, 2008, The Medscape Journal of Medicine
More Blog Entries:
Cleveland Speech Therapists Can Help With Child Speech Delays, Disorders, April 30, 2019, Brecksville Speech Therapist Blog