I frequently hear from parents that they’ve had long-standing concerns about their child’s speech, language or feeding abilities, but “my ____ told me not to worry about it.” You can fill in that blank with any number of well-meaning people: family, friends, teachers or physicians. More often than not, I’ve found that parents are right about their child’s developmental delay and valuable time has been lost.
It is important that you follow up on your concerns and have a professional evaluate your child’s communication development. Children of all ages can be evaluated. Depending on the age of the child, we look for things like:
- Problems understanding words or directions.
- Late talking.
- Trouble communicating wants and needs, such as using words, phrases or sentences.
- Difficulty in school.
- Struggling to make sounds or say words clearly.
- Hoarse, raspy, or breathy voice.
- Feeding or swallowing problems.
A big part of our evaluation is listening to your concerns and learning more about your child. We also play with or talk to your child. Most children will take at least one test during the evaluation. This information helps us develop techniques that you can use at home to improve your child’s skills. If therapy is needed, we will create a treatment plan and identify resources within the hospital or community that will help your family.
You’re an expert on your child. If you are concerned about you child’s speech and language development, talk to a speech-language pathologist.