Frequently Asked Questions
Have Questions? We have Answers!
Please refer to our Milestones page under the Resources section and answer the developmental skills section for your child’s age range. If you answer more no’s than yes’s or have additional questions, then I recommend seeking outside help for your child.
If you think you may need help for your child, reach out to your pediatrician or contact a local speech-language pathologist.
Your pediatrician may refer you to a speech-language pathologist, who is a health professional trained to evaluate and treat people with speech or language disorders. They might also recommend group or individual therapy or suggest further evaluation by an audiologist (a healthcare professional trained to identify and measure hearing loss), or a developmental psychologist (a health care professional with special expertise in the psychological development of infants and children).
These professionals may recommend a speech-language evaluation.
A speech-language evaluation is a structured test that helps identify if someone has a speech or language disorder and if therapy is necessary.
Your speech-language pathologist will talk to you about your child’s communication and general development. He or she will also use special spoken tests to evaluate your child. A hearing test is often included in the evaluation because a hearing problem can affect speech and language development.
Depending on the results of the evaluation, the speech-language pathologist may suggest activities you can do at home to stimulate your child’s development or more formal speech therapy sessions with a trained professional.
There is a significant amount of research that continues to show us that children learning two languages at the same time will go through the same developmental patterns in both of their languages and at roughly the same time as children learning one language.
The total number of words of bilingual children is comparable to monolingual children when both languages are taken into account. Sometimes young children learning two languages mix words or grammar from their two languages, known as “code mixing” or “code switching”. This is very normal and does not indicate that the child is having difficulty with language learning.
There may actually be benefits from bilingual language learning, as children who are fluent in two languages have strengths in “metalinguistic skills” (the ability to think about language), as well as in cognitive skills, such as attention.
Simplify your speech by using short, grammatical sentences, with more stress/affect to highlight targeted vocabulary. This way you provide as many opportunities as possible for your child to hear and learn new words and how they are used within short sentences.
A child that demonstrates difficulty speaking and tends to hesitate on or repeat certain syllables, words, or phrases, may be stuttering or may simply be going through periods of normal disfluency that most children experience as they learn to speak.
A child with developmental disfluency or stuttering will occasionally repeat syllables or words once or twice, li-li-like this. Disfluencies may also include hesitancies and the use of fillers such as "uh", "er", "um". These disfluencies occur most often between ages one and one-half and five years, and they tend to come and go. They are usually signs that a child is learning to use language in new ways. If disfluencies disappear for several weeks, then return, the child may just be going through another stage of learning.
Risk factors that indicate the child may not grow out of the stuttering stage includes: A family history of stuttering, Gender (4 boys to 1 girl stutters), A child that starts stuttering after the age of 31/2 is less likely to “outgrow” the stutter than a child that begins stuttering before the age of 3. For more information please contact a speech-language therapist.
Autism can affect communication in multiple ways. Some children with autism speak very little or not at all. Others may repeat what someone else has said or speak in a high-pitched or robot-like voice. And others may have trouble using gestures or eye contact to help get their message across.
Interventions also vary widely, depending on your child’s age and abilities. That’s why it’s essential to get individualized answers to your questions about communication. Ideally, these answers should come from a speech-language pathologist who is familiar with both autism and your child.
- What strengths does my child have? What communication challenges does my child face?
- What are the goals of my child’s speech-language intervention? Why are these goals priorities at this time?
- How will you help my child learn these new skills?
- Is there evidence that this approach is effective for children with autism who are like my child?
- How can I help my child communicate at home, at school, and in the community?
- How will the intervention be tailored to my child’s age and interests?