Even in the eyes of the professionals, the question as to exactly when and where it becomes important to consider childhood speech therapy is tricky to answer. The reason being that any given symptom which may in some instances be indicative of a genuine speech and language development issue will in the case of other children be nothing more than a very minor and very temporary hiccup. Suffice to say, this is exactly why the development of one child should never be compared to that of any other, as to do so is to inevitably identify inconsistencies which are then bound to be interpreted as problems.
Of course, the single most important rule to follow as advised by the professionals is that of trusting your parental instincts and going with your gut. Or in other words, if you have even the slightest inclination that there may be something wrong, it’s better to book a consultation and have things checked out just in case – just in the same way you would with any physical health complaint. More often than not, suspected childhood speech and language development issues turn out to be nothing to worry about, though in all instances nipping problems in the bud is preferable to allowing them to develop.
So with this in mind, here is a quick overview of the most important tips from professional speech therapists with regard to avoiding the prolonging or worsening of any given childhood speech development issue:
1 – Don’t Ride it Out
First and foremost, while it might be accurate to say that most suspected speech and language issues are no cause for concern, it is in the best interests of all involved to bring the matter to professional attention. One of the biggest mistakes so many parents make is that of ‘riding it out’ somewhat indefinitely under the assumption that the problem will eventually correct itself. And indeed it might, but as there is no guarantee of this and every chance there could be a problem to address, it makes no sense rolling the dice and risking allowing things to get worse.
2 – Dismiss Denial
It carries over into the above point to a large extent but it is nonetheless crucial to acknowledge just how common and potentially detrimental denial can be. It’s a tricky subject to address as drawing the line between denial and simply not panicking every time there’s a slight hiccup isn’t easy – even for the professionals. Nevertheless, denial that there’s anything wrong when others may have highlighted to you what could be an issue isn’t advisable – there will always be those problems parents are somewhat blind to.
3 – Seek the Right Help
If and when you make the decision to speak to a professional with regard to a suspected speech and language development issue, what’s just as important as asking for help is asking for the right help. For example, some parents will instinctively turn to their family doctors or trusted paediatricians for advice and may indeed be provided with such. Nevertheless, childhood speech and language development and associated problems represent an extremely specific and complicated subject area comprehensively understood only by those who specialise in it exclusively. So just in the same way you’d take your child to a dentist with toothache rather than a doctor, the same logic should be applied here.
4 – Get Involved
If a speech development issue has been identified and brought to the attention of the relevant professionals, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that this is where your involvement ends. For the sake of facilitating the most effective treatment and ensuring the issue isn’t unnecessarily prolonged, parents should be prepared to get well and truly involved in the on-going treatment process which also means carrying out as much research as possible with regard to the condition and related subjects. The simple fact of the matter here is that the more you know, the more you can help and the less frightening the whole situation will be.
5 – Shop Around
Last but not least, whether you are looking for a simple initial consultation for peace of mind or any speech and language therapy services whatsoever, try to keep in mind that all providers on the UK market are by no means cut from the same cloth. Do your homework, seek recommendations and look into the track record of any speech therapist or therapist group you intend to work with prior to agreeing to their services.