What is speech pathology?
As children develop, many of them experience difficulties extending their speech and more broadly, their ability to communicate effectively
Parents and teachers have the difficult task of monitoring their child’s development and seeking assistance when necessary. While many issues may be appropriate for their age, or may resolve over time, studies show early detection and management is crucial for serious matters.
It is suggested you take a look at the early warning signs written below. If you are concerned your child may have difficulty with any, please discuss with a qualified Speech Pathologist:
Following simple instructions
Your child may require repetition of basic instructions or may have difficulty following what they are instructed to do. They may follow what other children do at kindergarten/school, as they find it hard to process the instruction for themself.
Understanding basic concepts
Your child may have difficulties with the ‘little words’ that give a lot of meaning. For example: on, in, under, behind, but, not, first, last, then. They may often misinterpret spoken information or show signs of frustration when they don’t understand.
Processing new information
Your child may find it hard to remember new things they have learned. They may necessitate extra time or constant individual support to store this information. There may be gaps in their learning and cause them to struggle with class work.
Recalling things that have just been said
Your child may have difficulty remembering a sentence that was just said, which implies they have short-term memory difficulty. They may change words in the sentence as well as the meaning, which can have a direct impact on their abilities in conversation as well as their learning at school.
Making links between familiar things in their environment
Your child may have difficulty storing information appropriately. Typically, we store information in categories which makes it easy for us to retrieve it when required. If your child takes a while to group like objects or by their similarities they may not be storing information in a way that supports their learning.
Using a wide range of vocabulary
Your child may not have a large vocabulary like other children in their class. Their language may be very basic as they don’t know the names of objects in their environment or how to use descriptive language. This may result in their language sounding ‘babyish’ or immature.
Pronouncing sounds in words
Your child may omit sounds, replace them with other sounds or not know how to pronounce them at all. The most common sound error is a lisp, however there are many others and can impact how well your child is understood by others.
Combining words to make sentences
Your child may have a poor understanding of grammatical structures and how words fit together to form sentences. This can include difficulties with word order, plurals, different tenses or agreements.
Speaking smoothly and coherently
Your child may have difficulty producing words in a smooth way. For example you may find that your child is groping for sounds and appears to struggle to put their mouth/tongue/teeth in the correct position. You my also find that your child is dysfluent and stutters, particularly when excited or anxious.
Organising expression appropriately i.e. story telling
Your child may have difficulty organising their thoughts and expressing them in a coherent manner. For example when telling a story it is important they are able to decipher, Who the story is about, What they are doing as well as Where and When. Your child may have difficulty structuring the information in their head, then expressing it in a way that can be understood by others.
Using social skills such as eye contact when speaking
It is important your child can communicate through non-verbal means i.e. facial expressions, gestures and eye contact. Difficulties in this area can result in your child having problems engaging in conversation.
Reading/writing at school
Literacy is the corner stone of education. It is important your child has consolidated these skills early on in life. If your child has difficulty understanding what sounds letters make and how they can form a word, it is important they receive individual support early on.
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