A child’s speech and language can vary at different rates. If you are a parent worried about your child’s speech development, are not sure whether they are behind or not, or you would like to track their progress visit www.talkingpoint.org.uk to find out what to expect for your child’s age and access other resources.
If you believe your pre-school child is behind with their development please speak with your health visitor, children’s centre or nursery. They can work through progress tools with you such as the The Bristol Surveillance of Children’s Communication (BRISC) to identify if a referral to a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) is required. If your child is school age please speak with your school health nurse, teacher or special educational needs coordinator. It is often possible to manage a child’s delay in speech and language through support and intervention with these professionals, rather than requiring a referral to a SLT. A referral to a SLT will be recommended if there is severe delay or lack of improvement in understanding and the use of language.
Sometimes speech and language can be affected by acute hearing issues such as glue ear, so in children there is value in ruling out any hearing problems before seeing a speech and language therapist even if they appear to be hearing – therefore please speak to your health visitor, school health nurse or GP to request a hearing assessment for a child.
Speech and Language therapists also work with children that suffer from conditions such as:
- Phonology Delay / Disorder
- Swallowing Difficulties as part of a complex condition
- Verbal Dyspraxia
- Voice Problem
- Specific language impairment
- Social Communication Impairment
- Eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties that are part of a complex condition
- Disabilites/diagnosed conditions which could affect communication skills e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome
- Non-fluency and stammering
For more information about a condition, please visit NHS Choices.