When I started this blog, the very first issue I addressed was the concern that there are so many children having therapy of one sort or another.
Whilst we are becoming better at identifying potential problems and providing crucial early intervention, there is also a tendency towards hysteria.
Many parents feel guilty because they feel that they may not have done enough, soon enough.
BUT, some educators are adopting a Cover Your Ass (CYA) approach so that nobody points a finger at them later by asking, “Why wasn’t the problem picked up earlier?”
Children go through a range of developmental stages and within each stage there is a great deal of deviation and variation from the norm. A guide to some of the developmental stages of speech and language development can be found here.
I also found an excellent resource for when to refer for speech and language therapy here
Early intervention is imperative, but it is not always possible to identify all potential difficulties before a child is of school going age. Many of the phonological awareness skills necessary for later reading and spelling only emerge at approximately 5 years old. This is one of the reasons that children do not learn to read earlier.
I am not dissuading parents from seeking a professional opinion at any stage! If there is any doubt, it cannot hurt to ask someone who knows.
What I am saying, is that sometimes it’s okay if your child doesn’t say his first word on his first birthday, or join two words together by his second. A 4 year old who says “PLEATHE” and “FANK-YOU” is still cute. If you keep digging for difficulties, you may well find some. After all, I don’t know anyone who is perfect.
If it aint broke, then don’t fix it.