Two of the most commonly asked questions in paediatric speech pathology are:
When or at what age is a good time to start speech therapy?And how long does it normally take?
The answer to both these questions are as you may have guessed, dependent on the child, however many parents may be left wondering without any idea as to how long they may be coming for speech therapy. So to give a bit of an indication of how long therapy may be required, here is a rough guide.
Children with a mild speech or language delay would likely need speech therapy for a few months.
Children with moderate to severe delays may require speech therapy in some form such as suggested strategies put in place at school, weekly one to one or group therapy sessions.
To answer the question of when a child should start speech therapy, this again is difficult to answer without taking into consideration the child’s needs. The general rule is to start sooner rather than later however I will give a few examples which are commonly seen in a speech pathology clinic and when to be concerned and seek out a speech therapist.
Children who have not yet produced any words are a common case. The general rule is that children should produce their first word around 12 months of age.
If your child is over the age of 12 months it may be worth while visiting a speech pathologist to get a few tips and pointers to help boost your child’s language along.
Some parents like to wait and give their child a chance to catch up in the case of late starter. You generally don’t want to wait longer than a few months as toddlers around 18 months should be producing around 50 words so catching up is a big task if your child does not produce any words yet at this age. The same can be said about the first two-word sentence, which is expected around 24 months of age.
If your child is past the age of two years and is still only using a handful of single words, an assessment by a speech pathologist can give you an indication of whether your child looks as though they are about to start producing two word utterance. They may also be able to tell you if they don’t look to be producing sentences any time soon and give you tips on how to help them along.
One of the most important stages to be assessing and treating a child for speech or language delay is during late preschool when the child is preparing to enter into primary school.Early intervention is key at this stage as the child will soon require their speech and language skills as a foundation for learning literacy and absorbing academic information. Without sufficient speech and language skills, your child begins school with a handicap, which may set them behind for the rest of their continued education.
If you feel unsure about your child’s communication skills, book in for an assessment to get an idea if your child is on track to meet their communication requirement to start school.
Contact us for results focused speech therapy
This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have questions about language activities, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.