Expert Stresses Importance of Early Intervention for Communication Disorders During Better Hearing & Speech Month
With speech and language disorders among the most common conditions that young children experience, it is important for parents and caregivers to learn the signs of communication disorders—and seek an evaluation now if they have any concerns. In accordance with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM), is educating and encouraging families to seek help immediately if a child shows signs of a speech or language delay or disorder.
Parents often have questions about their child’s speech, language, or social communication skills but are often told by family, friends, or even other professionals to wait and see if their child outgrows a potential problem. Unfortunately, this often results in a delayed diagnosis of a disorder or condition that is highly treatable—particularly when caught early.
It’s especially important to be proactive now, as some children who traditionally would have been recommended for speech and language services by a daycare provider or pediatrician may have been missed due the pandemic—since many kids remained at home, with more limited interaction with these professionals. Families should know that early intervention services are still available at this time, both in person and virtually.
The American Speech-Language Hearing Association provides some signs of a speech or language disorder in a young child (age 3 and under) for the purposes of recognizing when early intervention would be recommended:
- Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
- Does not babble (4–7 months)
- Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7–12 months)
- Does not understand what others say (7 months – 2 years)
- Says only a few words (12–18 months)
- Says words that are not easily understood by others (18 months – 2 years)
- Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5–3 years)
- Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2–3 years)
Here are some of the key benefits of early treatment: