If your child is struggling to pronounce words properly and people have a hard time understanding them when they speak, it may be time to address the issue. There are some common speech delays and problems that a child will outgrow with age, but others will need professional assessment and treatment.
You don't want your child to struggle socially or academically. Here are a few of the professionals and services you want to talk with your pediatrician about.
Audiologist and Hearing Testing
An audiologist will test to see if the child can hear properly. If they aren't able to hear how sounds and words are supposed to be pronounced, it can impair their development, comprehension and speech. After all of the testing has been completed and the results come back, your pediatrician will determine if your child needs to see an ENT or not. Catching hearing loss or hearing delays at an early age is important for treatment to prevent more loss.
Problems with speech may be because of your child's oral development and bone structure. Have your child looked at by an orthodontist to see if there are concerns with the plates in the mouth, the alignment of the teeth, or issues with the jaw bones and movement. Any of these concerns can make it difficult for your child to talk properly, and they may need orthodontic treatment at an early age.
Speech Therapist Assessment and Help
Have your child start working with a speech therapist right away to have them assessed and to help with progression while you figure out what's wrong. You can ask that they are assessed by their school if they are already enrolled in a preschool or elementary program, or you can have a private therapist that is recommended by the pediatrician work with the child. Over time, speech therapy alone may be enough to treat the problems.
Any time you feel that your child doesn't speak as clearly as others their age, or when they don't have as wide of a vocabulary as they should for their age, you want to take action and get your child checked out by the right professionals. Once you know why they are delayed, you can come up with a plan for treatment and try to get your child caught up, so they aren't behind other kids their age with speech development.
For more information, contact a medical center specializing in pediatric speech therapy, such as Achieve Center.