I hear this phrase all the time, “those online milestones say my child is delayed but do I really need to be worried?” The honest answer to this question is, we do not know. There are many factors to consider, such as age, medical history, the type of concern, and so much more! One thing we can be sure of is, you have just taken your first step in the right direction. You want to know if your child’s development is on the right track.
The internet is a wild place that provides loads of information at our fingertips. However, as convenient as this may be, it can be dangerous to find yourself somewhere deep in the web where the information is no longer backed by research. It can be hard to know what recommendations we should follow through with and what information is best left on the internet. So, let’s dive into some of the most popular “facts vs. myths” that come from that late-night internet research.
Myth: My child will grow out of it.
Fact: When children are developing speech and language, they will go through different periods of growth. Some children will grow out of a delay with time. Unfortunately, we have no way to know if your child will outgrow this independently, or they need some help to get there. It is always best to play on the safe side and learn new strategies to help your child get to that place.
Myth: Bilingualism can cause speech disorders.
Fact: Children growing up in an environment exposed to a second language is quite common! Your child is taking in the grammar and rules of both languages. They might go through a phase where they mix up vocabulary/rules between two languages. This is perfectly normal! However, if your child appears to be delayed in their primary language or both, it is a good idea to talk with a speech-language pathologist.
Myth: Speech therapy is just playtime.
Fact: What we do is heavily based on play. However, a child’s work is play; to explore and learn through toys, items around your house, and things they see in the environment. Since your child spends most of their day playing, it only makes sense to do therapy in a way that is going to be the most functional. Think about it, if your child plays with cars 8 hours a day and we can teach them a new skill during car play. They will go home getting 8 hours a day of practice! It is always the easiest way to engage your child in the learning process.
Myth: It is too young to address speech problems with children under 3.
Fact: There is no “magic age” to start therapy. Research tells us that early intervention for a child is most successful. We often suggest that it is appropriate to bring your child in for an evaluation at any age. We can work together to decide if your child is ready to begin therapy or spend more time at home developing before we get started! No child is too young or too old for therapy.
If you ever have concerns about your child’s development, talk with a speech-language pathologist. They can lead you down the right path and help give you the answers you so desperately search for. You are your child’s best advocate. Be confident that you are making the right choice for your family.
Written by Avery Schick, Wildflowers Registered Speech-Language Pathologist