7 Signs Your Child Needs Speech Pathology

Speech pathology is the study, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of speech, language and communication disorders. These may include speech impairment due to a developmental disability or a neurological disorder or damage, such as cerebral palsy. Not every speech problem requires professional intervention. However, if you answer yes to any of these questions, it might be time to call speech pathology:

1. Is Your Child Unintelligible to Strangers?

If you have trouble understanding what your child is trying to say, then it might be time for speech pathology. It may also help if you ask around to see if others are having the same problem with understanding your child's speech. If so, speech pathology might be helpful for your child.

2. Does Your Child Have Trouble Pronouncing Sounds or Words?

Does your child use the same sound or word repeatedly instead of using different words to communicate all of their ideas? This speech problem is called "verbal stereotypy," and it could be improved with speech pathology.

3. Is Speech Delayed?

Infants and toddlers should be able to make some sounds, reach speech milestones (starting with cooing and babbling and ending with speech intelligibility), and use gestures or words to communicate. These can all indicate speech pathology if not developed at the expected age.

4. Is Speech Inconsistent?

Is speech at school different from speech at home? Does speech vary according to stress level, fatigue, or excitement? If so, it might be beneficial for your child to see a speech pathologist who can help with these issues.

5. Does Your Baby Grunt Instead of Crying?

If you notice that when your child is hungry or tired, and they do not cry but instead make a grunt-type sound, this may be a speech pathology issue. The speech pathologist will be able to assess if your child can, in fact, cry but is unable to get the crying out because of speech problems.

6. Does Your Child Spit While Talking?

If you notice that when your child talks, they tend to spit, this could be due to speech problems or other reasons for this behavior. If the problem is speech-related, then speech pathology will help your child overcome it.

7. Is Your Child Struggling in Social Situations?

If your child has language and speech difficulties that make it hard for them to communicate with others, speech pathology can help. This might be the case if your child uses speech that is too soft or difficult for others to understand.

The Takeaway

Language development is extremely complex, and most people don't fully understand all the factors that influence speech and language. If you notice any of the above red flags, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with a speech pathologist.

Contact a practice like Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head for more information.