Many children with speech or language delay go on to experience persistent communication challenges. If left unresolved, these challenges can have a long-term impact on a child's academic success, as well as their mental and social well-being — as revealed by a research published in the South African Journal of Childhood Education.
Education specialists and child psychologists have developed early intervention programmes to help children overcome speech and language delays. Here, we unpack how early intervention works before exploring where parents can secure expert speech and language therapy. But first, let’s explore why therapy is so crucial to helping children achieve their developmental milestones.
What is Speech and Language Therapy and Why Is It So Important?
From having unrecognised hearing impairment to experiencing a developmental condition, there are many different causes of speech and language delay in children. While the causes vary, the signs of speech and language delay are easy to recognise — children who consistently miss their developmental milestones, for instance, are likely experiencing a delay.
If you suspect your child has a speech or language delay, it is imperative that you seek professional help as soon as possible. This is because, as children develop, they experience golden ‘windows of opportunity’, when they more easily pick up the skills required for successful communication.
These skills range from being able to distinguish between sounds to understanding rules of grammar. Developmental delays prevent children from mastering these skills and learning how to communicate their desires and feelings.
The goal of speech and language therapy is to help children build the communication skills needed to understand and communicate with others. So the earlier a child attends therapy, the faster they will develop and the more they will achieve in their limited windows of opportunity.
The opposite is also true: the longer children go without therapy, the more difficult it becomes to learn these skills, and the wider the gap between children with delay and their peers.
How Therapy Helps Children Overcome a Speech or Language Delay
Because speech and language delay can have many causes, securing an expert diagnostic assessment is the first step to helping your child overcome their learning challenges. At the end of these assessments, you’ll know the cause of delay. A therapist can then identify specific goals and interventions according to your child’s age and speech and language needs.
Therapists then provide individual sessions that help children achieve their speech and language goals. Children struggling with speech, for instance, may benefit from articulation therapy, where your therapist models correct sounds and syllables for children to learn. Development may also be stimulated using pictures, books and tailored language-based activities.
Individual therapy sessions are effective, but the best outcomes are achieved when a therapist works closely with both the child and their family. This is because children learn by observing and interacting with their parents. The right intervention programmes equip parents with speech and language resources and strategies to stimulate childhood development at home.
Finding a Speech and Language Therapist in Singapore
Fortunately, many private facilities and early intervention centres in Singapore offer speech and language therapy.
At Thomson Kids, we provide expert diagnostic assessments and intervention programmes for children with speech or language delays. Visit our service page to learn more or to schedule an appointment with our therapist.