There are a few common misconceptions regarding speech and language delays in children. Many parents get given advice that is not correct by other parents or even other health professionals that do not specialise in communication development, and in turn may make the wrong decisions when it comes to the management of communication delays. One of the most common and detrimental pieces of advice given to parents has to be the notion that children will grow out of speech or language delays.
While it helps to reassure parents in the short term, often a parent’s instincts regarding their child’s development is correct. If their child’s peers have significantly better communication skills, there is a good chance that the child has communication difficulties. Even if they eventually begin to develop communication at the same rate as other children; their peers will always have a head start and as language becomes exponentially more difficult, bridging the gap then becomes even more difficult.
This becomes a greater concern when the child enters school, where not only will they be unable to communicate effectively with peers, but language also becomes crucial for learning and your child will be graded along-side children with normal language skills, who are fully equipped to take in all the new information communicated to them in the classroom. In addition, verbal communication, especially speech sound knowledge is strongly linked to emergent literacy skills, which then becomes another area the child is at risk of falling behind in.
While it is true that some children with communication difficulties are able to catch up with their peers, for many cases this is not possible. A number of factors influence whether this may occur, including the type of communication delay or disorder the child has, the extent of their difficulties, as well as associated factors such as the child’s attention and motivation. A number of parents choose not to address their child’s communication development due to the cost of speech therapy. It is understandable that financial resources may be limited for some families, however in many cases the cost of speech therapy for a few months during the earlier stages can save the time, effort and money on years of tutoring and additional assistance later down the track.
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This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have concerns about difficulties with speech, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.