A Parent's Guide to Speech Therapy
Updated: Nov 10
As a new mom myself, I understand how much pressure can be placed on us as parents and caregivers to make sure that our children are meeting each developmental milestone. Between the internet and social media, there is an overabundance of information available to us at our fingertips, which can be extremely helpful, and extremely overwhelming at the same time. We can find ourselves second guessing ourselves, not knowing what to believe. If you have questions and concerns for your young one’s speech and language development, I have you covered! Explore the top questions I get asked by parents, with research-backed answers from me (Megan Dennae, M.S., CCC-SLP), a pediatric speech-language pathologist.
Does my child need speech therapy?
If you are questioning your child’s speech and language development, I strongly encourage you to seek an evaluation from a pediatric speech-language pathologist. Researching milestones and tips on the internet can be useful to a degree however, the only way to know for sure if your child needs speech therapy is by seeking an evaluation to find out and see!
If you are wondering, “how many words should my child have?” check out these expected speech/language milestones:
· click here for birth to 5,
· click here for elementary ages.
When should I seek a speech and language evaluation for my child?
A speech and language evaluation should be sought out as soon as you start to notice concerns about your child’s development. Whether your child isn’t talking yet, he/she doesn’t say many words, he/she is demonstrating difficult behaviors/tantrums (due to communication breakdowns), your child has a diagnosis (Autism spectrum disorder, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, etc.), or any other concern, you should not wait to reach out to a professional. The earlier your child can start to receive the services that he/she needs, the better the outcome will be for your child and the quicker he/she can develop the necessary skills to be able to communicate more effectively. You do not need to wait for your pediatrician to give you the green light! You always have the right to request an evaluation without the need for a referral.
What options are available to me and my child?
Children ages birth-21 are entitled to free and appropriate services if they have a diagnosis, a specific percentage delay, or other determining factors. These services are held through Early Intervention and public-school systems.
Private therapy is another wonderful option, in which services may be held in a clinic, the client’s home, a community location, school, etc. The options are endless! Private speech therapy is a great option for families who really want to customize their child’s goals and treatment plans. While you always have the option to pay privately for speech therapy, you may also find a private practice who accepts your private health insurance, or you may have the option to receive a superbill, in which you can submit to your insurance for possible reimbursement.
What does speech therapy look like?
Speech therapy looks different for each child (at least it should), depending on his/her own individual needs! For children under three, speech therapy may look more like parent coaching and play, since children learn best through play. For older children, speech therapy may include more visual and tactile cues, working on self-awareness and identification, generalizing skills, etc. It is important to always follow the child’s lead and interests, rather than sitting him/her at a table and drilling him/her with flashcards. Although tabletop activities can be beneficial at times, children appear to be most successful when his/her sensory system is regulated, they are engaged in motivating, meaningful and functional activities, and when he/she isn’t being forced/pressured to communicate or do tasks that we are asking him/her to do.
Interested in learning more about services provided through Clear Path Pediatric Therapy LLC? Please feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org OR 717-602-2848
We offer services for the following locations in Pennsylvania:
Bakerstown, Bellevue, Boiling Springs, Carlisle, Camp Hill, Canonsburg, Colonial Park, Coraopolis, Cranberry Township, Dillsburg, Dover, East Berlin, Elizabethtown, Ephrata, Franklin Park, Gibsonia, Glenshaw, Hampton Township, Harrisburg, Hershey, Lebanon, Lewisberry, Mars, McMurray, Mechanicsburg, New Cumberland, Palmyra, Peters, Progress, Ross Township, Seven Fields, Sewickley, Upper St. Clair, Valencia, Venetia, Warrendale, Wexford, Wylandville, York (if you don’t see your town listed, ask about teletherapy options!)