Is Your Child Struggling with Speech? Here’s What You Need to Know

As a parent of a young child, you play a vital role in your child’s development, including their speech and language skills. It’s natural to have concerns if you notice your child having trouble expressing themselves or understanding others.

Kids First’s paediatric speech pathologists say that early intervention in speech therapy is particularly important because the preschool years this is a critical period for language development. During this time, children are rapidly learning and expanding their language skills, and any delays or difficulties in this area can have significant impacts on their later social and learning success.

Signs That Your Child Might Need Speech Therapy

If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language skills, it’s essential to seek out professional evaluation and support as early as possible. Here’s what you need to know about the signs that your child might need speech therapy and how early intervention can help.

Signs That Your Child Might Need Speech Therapy

If you’re not sure if your child needs speech therapy, here are some common indicators to look out for:

Difficulty Pronouncing Certain Sounds or Words

If your child struggles to pronounce certain sounds or words, making it challenging for others to understand them, it could be a sign that they need speech therapy.

When peers or teachers can’t understand what your child is trying to say, there is a risk that your child’s learning, behaviour and friendships can be impacted.

Limited Vocabulary or Difficulty Expressing Themselves

If your child has a limited vocabulary, is a ‘late talker’ or struggles to express their thoughts and ideas, it could indicate that they need professional evaluation and support.

Did you know that by the age of three, your little one should be able to say around 300 to 1,000 words? They might even surprise you with short phrases and sentences to communicate their needs and ideas!

That being said, if you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language development, it’s always best to consult with a speech pathologist or other healthcare professional. They can provide guidance and support to ensure your child is on the right track for success!

Speech therapists in Sydney's northern beaches share Signs That Your Child Might Need Speech Therapy

Difficulty Following Directions or Understanding Questions

If your child has difficulty understanding what is being asked of them or following instructions, it could impact their ability to learn and engage in social situations.

  • In the classroom: If your little one is having trouble understanding instructions from their teacher, it might be challenging for them to participate in classroom activities or complete assignments. This can be tough on their confidence and academic performance.

  • In social situations: If your child has a hard time following instructions, it might be difficult for them to join in on group activities or games with friends. This could lead to feelings of frustration and social isolation.

  • At home: If your little one struggles to follow directions from you or other caregivers, they may have trouble with completing tasks or participating in family activities. This can make it hard for them to feel like they belong and can impact their relationships with family members.

It’s essential to work with a speech pathologist if you’re concerned about your child’s ability to understand instructions or follow directions. With the right support and intervention, your child can develop strong communication skills, improve their self-esteem, and feel confident and engaged in academic and social situations.

Challenges with Social Interaction or Communicating with Peers

As parents, we want our children to thrive socially and emotionally. But did you know that when a child struggles to interact with others, make friends, or participate in conversations, it can have a significant impact on their well-being? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Social isolation: If your little one has difficulty interacting with others, they may feel left out of social situations and experience feelings of isolation. It’s important to help them build positive relationships with their peers.

  • Difficulty making friends: Making friends can be challenging for young children, but if your child is really struggling to connect with others, it’s important to address this issue and provide appropriate support.

  • Anxiety and depression: Social difficulties can sometimes lead to feelings of anxiety and depression in children. It’s important to look out for signs of distress and get help if you’re concerned.

  • Academic difficulties: Social skills are important in the classroom too. If your child struggles to participate in group work or communicate effectively with their peers, they may have difficulty with academic performance.

If you’re concerned about your child’s social and emotional development, consider working with a speech pathologist. With the right support and intervention, your child can develop strong social skills, build positive relationships, and thrive both in and out of the classroom.

Speech therapists in Sydney's northern beaches share signs that your preschooler might need Speech Therapy

Frustration or Behaviour Issues Related to Communication Difficulties

Many children aged 2 to 5 struggle to ‘use their words.’ When your child has trouble expressing themselves, it can cause emotional distress and even lead to behavioural problems such as aggression, tantrums, or withdrawal.

As paediatric speech therapists, the Kids First team often sees children who resort to biting, pushing, or kicking others in order to communicate their wants and needs.

If this sounds like a child you care about, it’s essential to work with a speech pathologist to address the underlying issues that cause these communication concerns and provide the right support and intervention.

How to get help from a speech therapist

There are many ways to seek the advice of a speech therapist for your child.

  • Your local community health service may be able to provide assessment and a block of therapy of this is warranted. The earlier you put your child’s name on the waitlist the better, as you may find that this free service has limited availability in your area.

  • Speak with your family doctor about your concerns for your child. If your GP agrees that your son or daughter may benefit from speech therapy, they may create a Medicare plan that provides your child with up to 5 subsidised (not free) visits to a speech therapist who works in private practice.

  • Contact a speech therapy practice in your area directly. Ensure that the practice you connect with has specific experience in working with children and check to see if your visits are eligible from your health fund or the NDIS.

Contact Kids First’s speech therapists

Kids First Children’s Services has supported thousands of northern beaches children and our speech pathologists have years of experience working with kids of all ages and abilities. Our team members support children who have NDIS, private health fund and Medicare plans.

Contact us on 9939 5419 now if we can help a child you care abou

Learn more about speech therapy at Kids First here

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