Speech and Language Difficulties
Children all learn to talk at different rates and some children develop more quickly than others. We do know however that there are ‘typical’ ages by which we expect children to have developed certain skills, and most children do. There are some children that do struggle with learning to talk and understand and they will need extra help with this. If you are at all concerned about the way your child is talking or understanding, ask for a speech and language therapy assessment. Since 5% of children enter school with difficulties in speech and language, it is relatively common, and can be a barrier to learning. A speech and language therapist (SLT) will be able to tell you exactly how your child is getting on and if there is a reason to be concerned.
We provide assessment, treatment and support for children and their parents who feel that their child may be having difficulties with speech or understanding. Reasons to consider Speech and Language Therapy for a child or adolescent are varied. We consider two main areas below, “Speech” and “Language”.
Language difficulties may be present in children of any age when one or more of the following are observed regularly:
- Sometimes they seem to have difficulty understanding what people say
- They find it difficult to follow instructions at school or at home, especially if they are long or complex
- Their responses to questions regularly sound inappropriate, or tangential
- They appear bewildered at times, and look to others to see what they should do
- Their sentences are incomplete, or don’t make sense
- They cannot easily find the right words to express themselves
- They use words that do not fit into the sentence that they are using
- They have difficulty learning new words, and find school work very challenging when new material is introduced with new language content
- In a social, day to day setting they manage to talk well, but if more complex questions or responses are needed they struggle to understand and respond appropriately
Speech difficulties can occur in isolation from language problems, or as a combination. Reasons to consider Speech and Language therapy are:
- Your child is difficult to understand
- You understand your child but people less familiar with them may not
- They are intelligible but make speech errors
Typical patients seen by speech and language therapists include:
- Babies who have problems with feeding and/or swallowing.
- Children with:
- General learning disability.
- Physical disability.
- Language delay.
- Difficulties in sound production.
- Hearing problems.
- Cleft palate.
- Autistic spectrum disorders.
- Voice disorders.
- Selective mutism.