We all know that children develop speech and language skills at an extremely fast pace. Think about it- in ONE year they go from crying to smiling, laughing, cooing, babbling, to saying their first words! So when parents have concerns that their child may not be meeting all those communication milestones, it may feel like they are falling behind faster than they are meeting the milestones, and this can cause a lot of emotions to rise to the surface.
First and foremost– if your child needs speech and language therapy, we want you to know that you have done nothing wrong, you are not alone, and there are options to get your child the help they need. Seeking help when your child needs it is the first important step on the road to helping your child be the best they can be! So before we can help you decide if your child may need speech and language therapy, let’s talk about the difference between speech and language!
What is speech?
Simply put- speech is “how we say words.” To break it down a bit further, speech is made up of three parts: articulation, voice, and fluency. Articulation is how we make sounds using our “articulators,” or our mouth, lips, and tongue. Changing the shape and placement of these articulators will form different sounds as we produce words. Speech also includes our voice– how we use our vocal folds and breath to make sounds and fluency– the rhythm of our speech.
What is language?
Language is just the words we use and how we use them to convey our thoughts and ideas. It is broken down into two parts: expressive language- what we say and receptive language- what we understand.
How will I know if my child is behind?
According to the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), your child may need speech and language therapy because of a speech disorder if:
According to ASHA, your child may need speech and language therapy because of a language disorder if:
I have some concerns. What do I do?
Getting help early is better than waiting. We can tell you from experience that a parent never regret seeking help too soon. If you have concerns, you should reach out to a speech language pathologist (SLP) in your area and seek a speech and language evaluation. During an assessment, a speech language pathologist will be able to more accurately identify the areas of speech and language that are difficult for your child and create an individualized plan to help them with the skills they need to thrive.
If you are in the Knoxville area and have concerns about your child’s speech and language development, please give us a call at (865) 236-0103 for a free consultation. We’d love to meet you!
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Chariti is a licensed/certified Speech Language Pathologist in Knoxville, Tennessee and owner of Great Adventures Therapy. LLC.