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August 31, 2016

How Do You Know if Your Child is in Need of a Speech Therapist?

All children progress at different stages, so it’s easy for parents to overlook some of the signs and signals that their child is having issues with their speech. Communication delays and disorders are very common in the United States, and early intervention is key to better outcomes.  

Early detection can lead to early treatment which can reduce or eliminate further challenges. Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) can help with language, speech, fluency (stuttering), voice, feeding, and social communication skills.  

Here are some indicators that your child may benefit from a speech therapy referral:*

 

Language - If your child cannot or does not:

  • Babble (six months)
  • Use gestures, such as waving or pointing (nine - 12 months) 
  • Understand names of at least 10 familiar objects (12 months)
  • Can say approximately 50 words  (18 months)
  • Answer simple questions (two - three years)
  • Ask simple questions, such as “What’s that?” or “Where…?” (two - three years)
  • Follow two-step directions, such as “Put your toy away and come here” (three - four years)

 

Speech - If your child cannot or does not:

  • Imitate new words or mouth movements (18 months)
  • Have 50% understandable speech by two-three years; 90% by five years

 

Fluency (stuttering) - If your child does the following:

  • Excessive repetition of first sounds of words - “b-b-b-bike” (three years)
  • Repeats words multiple times in a sentence - “Can, can, can I...” (three years)
  • Stretches out sounds in words - “s-s-s-s-see” (three years)

 

Voice - If your child uses:

  • A hoarse, rough or breathy voice
  • A nasal sounding voice

 

Feeding - If your child:

  • Has excessive drooling or loses food/liquid from mouth (18 months)
  • Is an extremely picky eater (only eats specific foods)
  • Has difficulty changing from baby foods to textured (lumpy) foods or to table foods
  • Has difficulty chewing foods
  • Coughs/chokes during drinking or eating, or makes a gurgling sound; is frequently ill with respiratory infections or pneumonias
  • Will only drink through a bottle and will not progress to a cup

 

Social Communication - If your child cannot or does not:

  • Show awareness of own and other’s feelings (three years)
  • Make eye contact or show interest in playing/communicating with others
  • Introduce topics in conversation or participate in back and forth conversation (three years)
  • Pay attention and respond to facial expressions or gestures - “Stop!” when a hand is held up along with a firm facial expression (four - five years)
  • Recognize they are not being understood or know how to rephrase what they want.  (four years)

 

*Please note: Consideration should be given that this is not an all-inclusive list and that skills development occurs in a range of time.


If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech, talk to your pediatrician about seeking help from a licensed Speech Language Pathologist. Curative New Berlin Therapies has long been the provider of choice in this area with expertise in all aspects of child development, including movement, speech, feeding, and sensory processing - also specializing in sports rehabilitation and post-concussion therapy.

Sandra Korthas, Speech Language Pathologist

Sandra Korthas, MA/CCC-SLP, has been working at Curative New Berlin Therapies since 2011. She graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo with a Bachelor of Science Degree and Master of Art Degree in Speech Pathology and has been a practicing Speech Pathologist for over 25 years. Sandra has a special interest in working with children ages birth to three as well as children with apraxia and oral motor/sensory feeding difficulties. She enjoys working with families to help children develop to their highest potential. Outside of work, Sandra enjoys being home with her husband and three daughters as well as crocheting, reading, and playing the piano. 

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