6 Signs Your Child Might Need Pediatric Speech Therapy

pediatric speech therapy

Are you worried that your child might have trouble communicating? Maybe he doesn’t use as many words as you feel he should at his age, or maybe other kids often don’t understand what she’s trying to say. If you’re noticing signs like these, your child might have a speech or language disorder.

Among U.S. children ages 3-17, 5 percent have a speech disorder that lasted for a week or longer and 3.3 percent have a language disorder that occurred for a week or more during the past year, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Speech and language problems are different but often intersect, according to KidsHealth. Speech involves verbally expressing yourself and forming sounds and words, while language encompasses the broader process of understanding other people and being understood through verbal and non-verbal communication. A toddler with a speech issue might have difficulty making certain sounds and pronouncing words, while a child with a language problem could pronounce everything correctly but have trouble forming sentences to express ideas.

It’s important for parents to educate themselves about both speech and language development and keep an eye out for signs of an issue, particularly during their child’s first few years. Here are some things to watch out for that could indicate your child is having trouble with speech and/or language acquisition.

1. Not babbling at age 4-7 months. A baby who seems strangely quiet and isn’t experimenting with sounds through babbling could be showing signs of a language disorder, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.      

2. Lack of gesturing. If your child doesn’t express herself by making gestures such as pointing and waving (or makes very few gestures) at the age of 7-12 months, that could be another indication of a possible language disorder, ASHA states.

3. Issues with verbal requests. Children between 12 and 24 months old should be able to comprehend simple spoken requests, according to KidsHealth. If your son or daughter doesn’t seem to understand your instructions, he or she could have a language development issue.

4. Not speaking in sentences. Between the ages of 1.5 to 2 years, kids should start putting words together to form sentences. If your toddler is struggling to make sentences, that might be a good reason to get her screened for a language disorder.

5. Trouble making certain sounds. Children with speech disorders might have issues producing p, b, m, h, and w sounds in words the majority of the time from 1 to 2 years old and/or trouble pronouncing k, g, f, t, d, and n from 2 to 3 years old, according to ASHA. Their speech might also just seem generally unclear and hard to understand when they are 2 to 3 years old.

If your child shows any of these signs or seems to have other speech and/or language issues, it’s best to seek help as soon as possible. At Little Steps, our pediatric speech therapists can help children of all ages with various speech and language disorders – including articulation, fluency, and language disorders, as well as general communication challenges. We provide the highest level of individualized pediatric speech therapy services to help our patients improve. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today by calling 847-707-6744 or emailing info@littlestepspt.com.

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9 Responses to 6 Signs Your Child Might Need Pediatric Speech Therapy

  1. I have a nephew who is rarely babbles or makes sound. He does seem to notice and look over whenever we make sound, so I don’t think he has hearing problems. It’s quite puzzling, so we’ll probably see someone to determine if there is a problem.

  2. I am fascinated with the insight here in this post. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Amanda Drew says:

    That’s good to know that kids with speech disorders have problems making the w, h, m, b, and p sounds when they’re 1-2 years old. My son is one and a half and he can’t pronounce his Rs. I should find a speech therapist to take him to at least for a consultation.

  4. Ashley Turns says:

    My husband and I have noticed that our son doesn’t talk too much and we have been wondering if we should have him get some help. So thanks for letting us know that if they don’t make a lot of gestures (like waving or pointing) by the time they’re a year old, we should look into getting them kids speech therapy. Since our son doesn’t really make any gestures, we’ll be sure to find a kids speech therapy center he can go to.

  5. Braden Bills says:

    My daughter hasn’t been learning to speak as fast as my son. I didn’t know that speech disorders were so common among children this age! I can definitely see why getting speech therapy would be beneficial for her.

  6. I like how you said that a child that has trouble making certain speech sounds by the age of 2 or 3 may have a speech disorder and could benefit from children’s speech therapy. I think it’s so important to focus on children’s linguistic competence early, because it will help them develop speaking, reading, and writing skills that will affect their ability to think critically for the rest of their lives. My friend’s preschool age daughter has a hard time pronouncing her t and f sounds. I’ll have to recommend that she find a pediatric therapy center in her area, to help her daughter develop the skills she needs for oral language development.

  7. I never knew that children between 1.5-2 years should be putting words together to form sentences. My daughter’s speech seems to be lagging a bit, and she hasn’t started forming phrases even though she’s almost two and a half. We’ll have to see if there are any pediatric speech clinics in our area so she doesn’t fall further behind. Thanks for the information!

  8. Mia Stewart says:

    I like how the article explains that if your child is having difficulty making certain sounds like p’s, then your child may need to have pediatric speech therapy. My son has been having difficulties trying to say words that have the letter p in them. Maybe we will look into having him work with a speech therapist.

  9. Jane Burt says:

    Thank you for explaining that if you notice that your child isn’t speaking in sentences, they may need speech therapy. My daughter is 2 and she isn’t speaking in sentences yet. Maybe I will look into getting her speech therapy.

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