Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Does Your Child Need a Speech Evaluation?


By Gina Cato, M.A, CCC-SLP, Chief Speech/Language Pathologist

“A I saw a beh a a ebeh!” said four-year-old Johnny.

Hmm, what could Johnny be saying? You remember, then, that he went to the zoo that day. Conversations with Johnny can be difficult. If you know what he’s talking about, you sometimes figure it out.

By four, children’s speech can be understood most of the time. They still have some speech “mistakes,” but you can usually understand a four-year-old child without much interpretation. Johnny does need a speech evaluation. By three, children are usually placing sounds on the end of words that have consonant sounds.

Here is seven-year-old Susie’s report about the trip to the zoo. “And I saw a beh (bear) and an ewephant (elephant)!” Susie’s speech is easy to understand but it’s not clear. Susie also needs a speech evaluation. By seven, children usually use all speech sounds correctly most of the time.

These are general guidelines, but a speech/language pathologist can be consulted any time you have concerns about your child’s speech development. A speech evaluation can help us answer several questions:

1. Are my child’s speech problems normal for his age?
2. What speech sound patterns are present?  For example, like Johnny, does he usually leave off the ending sounds in words? Like Susie, does she say “w” when the word has an “l” sound?
3. Does my child need speech therapy?
4. What will she work on in speech therapy?

The Center provides speech/language evaluations and therapy programs for people of all ages. Call (314) 968-4710 for information. Financial scholarships are available. Visit the Center’s website to learn more about speech sound development: http://www.hearing-speechstlouis.org/articulation.php