**This blog post was pulled from an older article Marilyn Smith had written for our school. We have reposted it here for informational purposes!**
As we settle into October and now that “school” is well underway, parents and teachers start looking more closely at how children are progressing. Strengths and challenges become evident and often questions start to arise. A common question I hear throughout the year is “How do you know if my child needs to see a speech language pathologist?”
Speech and language are the very important tools we use to communicate and share our thoughts, ideas, and emotions with others. Every child is different and speech/language develops at varying rates, even amongst siblings. Speech and language are often confused, however there is a distinction between the two.
Speech is the verbal expression of language and includes articulation, which is the way sounds and words are formed. Speech is talking. It is normal for some preschoolers to have problems with articulation and difficulties putting sentences together. They may substitute a “f” or a “d” sound for “th or a “w” sound for an “l” or an “r”. Two consonant sounds together, such as “st” can also be tricky. The majority of children perfect their pronunciations by about age 6.
Language is much broader and refers to the entire system of expressing and receiving information in a way that’s meaningful. It’s understanding and being understood through communication including verbal, nonverbal, and written. Language is the set of rules, shared by the individuals who are communicating. It allows them to successfully exchange their thoughts, ideas and emotions. Language begins to develop shortly after a baby is born.
How can I tell if my child’s speech and language development is on track? Please see the website link below for typical speech and language milestones in childhood development.
Keep in mind that many things can cause delays in speech and language development. If you or your doctor suspect that your child has a problem, early evaluation by a speech language pathologist is important. When speech, language, hearing, or other developmental problems do exist, early intervention can provide the help a child needs.
If you have concerns about your child’s speech or language development talk to your doctor and if they feel an assessment would be helpful talk to your home learning support teacher to find out how RCOA can partnership with you to get an assessment by a qualified speech language pathologist.
Please feel free to contact me if this article has raised questions for you or if you want to talk about your child’s speech and language development.