By Sarah Emory, MSC, CCC-SLP
At MTSkids, we know that speech and language development matters. But when does it start to matter?
It’s not the day your child begins elementary school, or after the second birthday party. Speech and language development starts to matter when children are still in utero.
Child experts know that 90 percent of your child’s brain infrastructure will be built by age 4. Wow! 90 percent!
You know the saying: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. It is more than true when it comes to your child’s speech and language development.
The early childhood years cannot receive a “do-over.” What happens during a child’s early years is the foundation for all future learning.
Children who receive early speech and language intervention for delays and disorders are more likely to be prepared for school success, research tell us. No age is “too early” to meet with a speech-language pathologist for an assessment to decide if therapy is appropriate.
The first step
At McCulloh Therapeutic Solutions, we are on a mission to give your child a voice that lasts forever. We can only do that with your help.
A great first step is to schedule a free speech-language and hearing screening for your child. The speech-language pathologist will answer any questions you have and talk through any concerns you have.
Being a mom of two (with one on the way) has taught me that a mother’s intuition is spot-on. The best way to tackle any concerns is head-on, and that is what a speech, language and hearing screening allows you to do.
Many parents who have children that are developing normally in every other way (social skills, play skills, fine/gross motor skills) have been told by family, friends or their family doctor “not to worry and wait and see.”
This advice comes with the best of intentions. The saddest thing I see is a child who comes in for an evaluation at the age of 5 or 6, with a delay or disorder that would have been much easier to treat if seen earlier.
Children develop at their own pace, but speech-language pathologists know which milestones should be reached by a specific age. Not reaching these milestones can be a cause for concern and, without the benefits of early intervention, can cause challenges down the road.
What the research tells us
Research has shown that 70-80 percent of late talking toddlers will outgrow a language delay if it is an expressive delay only. This means that 20 to 30 percent will not catch up to their peers.
Research also shows that when children don’t catch up in their language skills, they may have persistent language difficulties and difficulty with reading and writing when they get to school.
The main thing a speech-language pathologist wants to prevent is learning disorders later in life. We are experts in language development. Delaying intervention prevents important treatment that can make a big difference to a child in so many ways.
Early intervention does not just involve “treatment” for the child. It provides education, support and guidance for parents, too.
Early intervention can have a significant impact on your child’s development. It can help to improve their ability to communicate, interact with others, and improve their social skills and emotional development.
There are many reasons to intervene early, but the most important is to make the best investment in our children. Join us on a mission to give the next generation a voice that lasts forever!
Sarah Emory, MSP, CCC-SLP, is owner and founder of McCulloh Therapeutic Solutions, a speech language therapy agency that provides services to homes and schools throughout Greenville and Spartanburg counties.