The Border Watch : March 25th 2014
When do you need a speech therapist? By Patricia McAleer-Hamaguchi Toddlers often have trouble with pronunciation and difficulties putting sentences together. A child between the ages of 18 months and 3 years will generally mispronounce many words. It’s perfectly normal to have to play a guessing game to figure out what your child is saying, and at times you may have absolutely no clue what they’re getting at. That’s okay! Many toddlers substitute an “f” or “d” sound for “th” (“I’m taking a baf”) or a “w” sound for an “l” or “r” (“The wion wawed” = “The lion roared”). Consonant blends, where two consonants are right next to each other, are typically difficult (“Soppit!” for “Stop it”), and toddlers often mix up multi-syllabic words or simply reduce them to shorter words (“Gimme dat amal” = “Give me that animal”). All of these mispronunciations are common even up until age 6. What you want to watch for is that your toddler’s speech is improving over time — by age 3, most of what your child says should be pretty understandable. If the problem is not pronunciation but rather that your child isn’t talking or is talking very little, you should act a little more quickly. You should have them evaluated at 20 to 24 months if they’re doing any one of the following: • Mispronounces vowels, saying “coo” instead of “cow.” 7 - Limestone Coast Kids 2014 • Doesn’t react normally or consistently to sounds. (They may be overly sensitive to sounds such as vacuums or hair dryers yet seem indifferent at other times when people call their name.) • Uses one catch-all sound or syllable to name most things (“duh” or “duh-duh” is a popular one). • Talks using mostly vowels, omitting whole consonants, saying “a” for “cat.” • Uses a word once and then doesn’t use it again frequently. • Doesn’t point to common objects in books. (When you say “Show me the kitty cat!” instead flips the page or simply repeats “cat!” but doesn’t actually point to it.) • Doesn’t seem frustrated when you don’t know what they want. (Your child may simply try to get the object themself or just give up very easily.) • Doesn’t seem to be progressing much from month to month. • Answers a question by repeating part of your question. (If you say, “Do you want milk?” responds by saying “Milk!” instead of a head nod or “yes” response — this is called echolalia, and may be an early sign of autism.) • Doesn’t learn “bye-bye” or react to games like peek-a-boo. • Still says single words only, and not sentences. Local and visiting therapists provide services including Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Audiology, Speech Therapy, Speech Pathology and Psychology / Counselling. Therapists are dedicated to helping your child reach their full potential in safe and fun environments. Individual and group therapy; education sessions, advice and support are all part of a comprehensive early intervention approach. Therapists work closely with families, educational bodies, communities and other service organisation to maximise a child’s development. We encourage you to contact us to further discuss your child’s needs or to book an appointment with a therapist who can help their developmental journey. All enquiries are welcome and confi dential. 1 ELEANOR STREET, MOUNT GAMBIER Phone: (08) 8725 5383, Fax: (08) 8723 0017, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Monday 9.00am – 5.30pm; Thursday 9.00am – 5.30pm www.1stophealth.com.au 641008 1 Stop Paediatric Services is a multidisciplinary centre off ering a range of developmental therapies for all children 0 to 18 years of age.
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