“How young is too young?” “My child is a boy, so shouldn’t I expect him to talk late?” “I was a late-talker, so it is fine that my child is too.” “At what age should I consider speech therapy for my child?” When is early speech intervention appropriate?
As a parent and a Speech Language Pathologist I hear statements and questions like these all the time. Parents sometimes are unsure of whether they should seek out speech therapy for their child. What I want to shout from the roof tops is “Do it!” The truth is, it is not “too early”. In fact, early is good! Early speech intervention is so important to the development and long-term success of children. Why is early intervention so important? Let me count the reasons…
- During the first 3 years of a child’s life their brain is doing a great deal of development. Neural circuits are flexible at this time and able to grow and change. As a child gets older, these neural circuits become harder and harder to change.
- See #1 again. That is a big one!!!
- Development in the early childhood years lays the groundwork for all future development
- Not only does it promote development in the child, but early intervention provides the child’s family with the support and information they need to best help their child
- Early social-emotional development provides the foundation for which future cognitive growth can occur
- Early intervention can improve a child’s overall outcome concerning their social, cognitive and communicative potential
- The goal is address the child’s problems before they are not too difficult to reverse
- The more social, emotional, communication, and cognitive skills a person has a child, the easier it is for them to become a happy, productive adult with a good job and strong, positive relationships
I can’t say it enough… early speech intervention is key!! Trust your gut! You know your child best. If you feel that your child could benefit from early intervention therapy, seek it out. You can start by speaking to your pediatrician, contacting your local regional center or reaching out to a professional who provides early intervention services.