Parents are usually uncertain as to what skills are expected at their child’s age. Anytime you as a parent have concerns about your child’s speech or language development, both you and your child would benefit from an assessment. Whatever the areas of concern, an assessment will give you an opportunity to discuss your observations and concerns with a professional who has knowledge of typical communication development.
Parents are usually correct in their hunch that their child is lagging behind in his speech or language development. In the assessment, they gain a greater understanding of the specific areas in which their child is having difficulty. Perhaps they cannot understand their child because he is not yet using the K and S sounds, because he lacks the vocabulary to express his ideas, or because he did not understand our question. A speech pathologist is able to pinpoint the areas that most greatly affect a child’s ability to communicate. Armed with accurate assessment information, we can then take the important steps of demonstrating strategies and discussing ideas of how we can best strengthen these skills. Where appropriate, the therapist and family also make plans for a course of treatment sessions.
Sometimes I am able to tell concerned parents that their child is on-target with their communication development. I let them know at what age to expect further skills to be acquired. In addition, I can give them ideas of how they can facilitate continued speech and language development.
Some parents seek early intervention because they know their child is at-risk for delayed development. For example, children with Down Syndrome are commonly seen for speech-language assessments prior to 1 year of age. Parents are keen to take an active role in facilitating their child’s learning. When children begin intervention at a young age, they have extra time and assistance in developing their communication skills.
Speech-language assessments are positive experiences for everyone. Children enjoy playing with new toys in a friendly and fun environment. And parents are encouraged and empowered by the information and recommendations they receive.
Karen Stenning, Speech Language Pathologist