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  • Writer's pictureBrenna Donovan

Is it too early to get help?

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

Are you worried about your little one’s speech and language development? Some parents are advised that their child may “grow out of it”, however, this approach can be detrimental during this critical development. Here are 5 reasons you should get help early if you are concerned:

Critical Developmental Period: Development of a child’s brain between birth and 36 months is considered a critical time that will shape the way a child interacts with their world. This time sets the groundwork for how a child will learn. During this time in a child’s life, they are more receptive to learning than they will ever be again. This is also the time they form deep connections with caregivers.

Decrease the need for longer, more intensive therapy later on: Early intervention has proven to be more effective at making faster changes when it comes to language-learning. Seeing a speech pathologist early on can mean less intensive therapy. Waiting increases the chance that your child will need more therapy to make similar changes.

Parent education: Studies have shown that children learn language through back and forth interactions with carers in their lives. When a child sends a message to a carer, the carer’s response serves as feedback to the child. If a child isn’t communicating as much as other children his age, he may not receive as much of this essential feedback. Ensuring that parents know how to make the best out of these interactions as early as possible is essential for a child who may have a speech or language delay.

Motor patterns solidify early on: The way a child learns to use their mouth to make sounds is learned early in childhood. Each time a child says a sound or a word, they are creating a motor pattern (a memory of how something is done). If the child is saying the sound the “wrong” way, they are creating the “wrong” motor pattern. You can compare a child to an athlete learning a new skill. If the athlete continues to practise the new skill the wrong way, it will become harder and harder for them to do it the right way. A child who continues to practise their sounds the “wrong” way will experience increased difficulty saying the sounds correctly later on. Motor patterns of young children are much more flexible than adults. It is easier for young children to change how they do things, an excellent reason that ensuring your child is saying sounds correctly early on is so important.

Academic Performance: A child who has speech or language delays when entering kindergarten are at a higher risk for academic difficulties, especially with reading and writing. Between 5-8% of children have language delays that continue throughout their school years and into adulthood. This can lead to difficulties not only with academic struggles, but more limited employment opportunities and difficulty with social relationships.

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