Early Detection is Key
Deficits related to your child’s speech or language can be very subtle and, because of that, are often overlooked. Your concern might arise from a delay in speaking or certain behaviors your child displays at home. Or, it could be a simple comment from your pediatrician or family doctor. The key is knowing what to look for and taking immediate steps to have it addressed. If you are even slightly concerned about your child’s communication skills, it’s important to have your child seen by a speech-language specialist right away.
Signs to look for
Here are some of the symptoms that may be exhibited by children with speech and language delays or disorders:
- Lack of eye contact.
- Disinterest in other children/people.
- Inappropriate or limited play; doesn’t pretend.
- Limited vocabulary; not consistently learning new words.
- Inability to understand or follow simple instructions without gesture cues.
- Lack of focus/attention.
- Not combining words by age 2.
- Difficult to understand.
Please keep in mind that these symptoms are only surface-level observations that can help to determine whether you need to seek a further assessment for your child. In order to truly evaluate your child’s development, please talk with your doctor and discuss the need for a further evaluation or referral.
How A Child’s Knowledge Can Conceal A Disorder
Some children show an early intense interest in specific skills such as counting, numbers and letters. This “knowledge” can sometimes mask the fact that the child is not acquiring other expected vocabulary and social language skills. Being aware of this kind of behavior may be the first step in identifying fundamental gaps in your child’s speech or language skills.
Limitations vs. Behaviors
It’s sometimes easy to assume that because your child “doesn’t talk” or “won’t listen,” he or she is simply stubborn or acting out. Many times, these children truly do not understand your directions or are unable to form the words to ask for things. A speech-language pathologist can help identify any underlying difficulties that may be contributing to your child’s behaviors.