A surprising number of children have problems with speech, including children who have no other noticeable medical problems or mental delays. In fact, statistics from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders show that 5 percent of children still have speech delays when entering first grade. Therefore, it is important to seek early interventions with a speech therapist. Your child’s general practitioner may be the best one to notice if your child is struggling to speak and can refer you to a therapist.
First, it is important to find the right professional to work with your child and your family. While there are numerous speech therapists who are highly qualified to help your child, not all of them will click with you or have the hours that best meet your scheduling needs. Therefore, it is best to choose a therapist with flexible hours, who listens closely to your concerns and who explains exactly what he or she is doing for your child and the rationale behind the decision.
Second, you must attend speech therapy sessions regularly for your child to benefit from them. If you skip too many appointments, your child will not be able to build the solid foundation that he or she needs to create good speech habits.
It can feel tempting to take over a speech therapy appointment by asking questions and trying to help your child. However, the speech therapist is trained to help children with this disorder and does not need your guidance to get great results. While you will need to share information at the first session and may want to fill in the therapist on speech milestones that occur at home, it may be best for you to sit in a different room during following sessions.
Good speech therapy can create great results, but it must be supplemented at home. Be sure to read to your child often, sing songs and have plenty of talking time throughout the day. You can even get your other children involved.