Early Detection and
Early Intervention are Vital
If you have any anxiety about your child’s speech or language development, investigating the matter immediately is recommended. Parents know their children best and therefore are in the best position to determine if there are concerns. It has been shown in the literature that early intervention is effective and better than using a ‘wait and see’ approach.
There are a number of resources online that provide developmental guidelines for the expectations of children’s speech and language skills at different ages. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services of Ontario provides a pamphlet on Your Baby’s Speech and Language Skills from Birth to 30 Months. Speech-Language and Audiology Canada also provide a Speech, Language and Hearing Milestones. Visit http://www.ontario.ca/children and http://ontario.ca/preschoolspeech for more resources and supports.
Should you have concerns that your child is not speaking, listening, or hearing as they should, it is then recommended that you proceed to contact a Speech-Language Clinic in your area. The Ontario Preschool Speech and Language Program (PSL) is available province wide free of cost to families. Your local PSL location can be found online. Once you contact the PSL the staff will assess your child’s needs and provide services customized for you and your child.
If your child is school age the first person to discuss your concerns with is your child’s classroom teacher. She will be able to initiate the process to have your child assessed by a Speech-Language Pathologist.
It is never too early (or too late) to investigate speech and language concerns. Trust your instincts. It is better to have your child’s skills assessed early as a preventative measure if you are concerned, than it is to wait and find that the problems could have been addressed more readily at a younger age.