When it’s beyond a lisp or stutter

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Does your three-year-old use sentences that consist of 3-5 words?  Do they know the difference between “on the table” versus “under the table”?  If you give them two-step directions, can they follow your command?  Do they use plurals such as “cars” or “elephants” ?

The above questions are often used by Speech Language Pathologists to detect a possible speech or language related disorder.  Although many parents think of speech therapy as a profession to correct lisps or stutters the profession is quite more complex.  In fact, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 10% of children have speech and language related disorders. Additionally, the rate of success is higher for children who receive therapy at an early age, specifically before starting school.

Children in kindergarten and elementary grades need to be able to listen to their teachers, process the information, follow directions and understand ideas.  Speech and language delays can affect these seemingly normal tasks and leave young children frustrated and unable to keep up with their classmates.  Often, these children find difficulty mastering the sounds associated with letters, and eventually reading can become a major challenge.  Children who have suffered from multiple ear infections as toddlers are particularly at risk for speech and language delays. With more awareness, we’ll see more success in the classroom and more confident and happy children.

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