3 Times You Should Seek Private Speech Therapy for Your Child – Achieve Independence
We often hear:
“At my child’s well visit, I asked about speech therapy, but the pediatrician said to wait and see. It’s hard for me to understand my child and my child is starting to get frustrated.”
“The pediatrician says the R sound doesn’t develop until later, like seven or eight. Should I wait and see? I have no idea what speech sounds my child should be able to say.”
You’re not alone in being concerned—and confused. Here are three instances when you should (and shouldn’t) reach out to a speech therapist.
1. When your child doesn’t meet speech sound milestones.
You know your child the best and know what they want. Oftentimes, people first notice that their child is having trouble speaking when someone else has trouble understanding them. Check out this chart to see how often an unfamiliar listener should understand your child and what sounds your child should be able to say at what age. New research shows by age 6 that children should have developed all speech sounds. The research was based on 15 studies of 7,369 children speaking English in Australia, Republic of Ireland, Malaysia, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States (McLeod & Crowe, 2018). In the past, parents were told to wait and see if their child needed speech therapy because 7–8 years was thought to be the appropriate age to develop all speech sounds. Now we know that “wait and see” is not the best advice because research shows early intervention is key! The earlier children receive speech therapy the better they’ll be. If your child is not understood by others or not producing the speech sounds for their age, now is the time to seek out services.
2. When your child doesn’t qualify for Birth to Three.
To qualify for the Birth to Three Program, your child must have a significant delay in two or more areas (i.e., cognitive, communication, social/emotional, physical, and adaptive skills). If your child is under three and you have concerns, call Birth to Three to schedule an evaluation. It’s a great free program that our state offers! If your child qualifies, you may find yourself wanting more services than Birth to Three offers. In that situation, private therapists can collaborate with the Birth to Three therapist to help your child achieve their goals. If your child does not qualify but still has difficulty being understood, families often see a private speech therapist for help.
3. When your child doesn’t qualify for school services.
In Connecticut, children are eligible for speech therapy at school if their speech has a negative impact on their education. Students will not qualify for services if they are reading, writing, and performing on grade level for curriculum and district assessments. A child with a single-sound error like not being able to say the S, TH, or R sounds will likely not receive services. Families often contact us for speech therapy in this situation.
Even if your child does qualify for school services, you may want to consider private therapy. We can work in conjunction with the school speech therapist which can promote progress. In schools, children often receive speech therapy in groups. In private therapy, your child will get the individual attention and support that your child needs and deserves. Your child will receive weekly targeted speech practice, and you will get specific directions on how to assist them. Receiving private speech therapy means more time in the classroom as well, which older children tend to prefer.
What should I do if I am concerned about my child’s speech errors?
When in doubt, check it out. You know your child best! If you are concerned or worried, there is a reason. It is very likely that your child may not qualify for services through Birth to Three or through the school but still needs speech therapy. Don’t wait and see. If you are concerned, confused, or have any general questions about your child’s speech, we’re here to help.
Contact Achieve Independence for a free consultation. We’ll help take the stress out of speech therapy.
Call/text us today at 860-470-6291
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We can determine the appropriate next steps like an evaluation to determine if your child has a speech sound disorder, difference, or if their speech errors are age appropriate.