Does My Child Need a Speech Therapist?

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Before you can decide whether or not your child needs a speech therapist, you need to look at some of the reasons he may be experiencing slow (in the worst case scenario, no) speech development.
There are a variety of environmental reasons that you can identify and change if necessary.
If the underlying reason is genetic or medical, then a speech therapist will be needed at some stage.
Look at the list below and see if any of the categories apply to your child.
Reasons for slow speech development A child may be slow to develop language because:
  1. he is not often spoken to, or put into situations where conversation is taking place.
  2. he has psychological problems, such as word deafness (associated with dyslexia - inability to distinguish letters) or autism (extreme withdrawal and unresponsiveness).
  3. he has a physical defect such as deafness or a cleft palate.
    About five in every 2000 children are quite severely deaf.
  4. he is mentally slow to develop or has a condition such as cerebral palsy.
  5. he is suffering from a disturbing emotional experience or physical ill-treatment.
  6. he has brothers and sisters who do it for him.
  7. he is not interested in speaking, and is a slow learner.
  8. he comes from a quiet, uncommunicative family.
If a child is not showing signs of speech - single words or jargon language - by the time he is 18 months, the clinic doctor or family doctor should be consulted and the child will be tested.
It may be necessary for him to see a speech therapist, who will try to find the cause for the slowness.
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