How do I know whether my child needs a speech therapist? (Ages 6 to 8)

How do I know whether my child needs a speech therapist? (Ages 6 to 8)

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It depends. Some children this age still mangle three- or four-syllable words, "manimal" for "animal" or "pasghetti" for "spaghetti," for instance, and that's fine. And some 6-year-olds still struggle with a few tricky consonant sounds, such as substituting w for an l or r ("The wion wawed" for "The lion roared") or saying f or d instead of th ("baf" instead of "bath"). Seven- and 8-year-olds should have these sounds mastered. Those few exceptions aside, though, your child's speech should definitely be understandable now. Most experts agree that a child should be able to pronounce most sounds by age 7 or 8. If he can't, seek professional help.

If your child has difficulty understanding a story being told or has trouble grasping something said to him, you should have him evaluated by an audiologist to rule out a hearing problem. You should also see a speech-language pathologist if your child is doing any of the following:

• "Missing" what a teacher says in a noisy classroom, even though his hearing is good and his speech is fine
• Having difficulty following complex directions
• Using a limited vocabulary
• Saying "huh?" or "what?" a lot or asking you to repeat what you've said — often a sign of a hearing problem
• Having trouble remembering long bits of verbal information — if you say, "After school we're going to the store before we head home," he may say, "We're going to the store?..."

If you think your child needs the help of a speech therapist, talk with his teacher about the problem and make an appointment with the school's speech therapist for a free screening. Or his pediatrician can refer you to a private pediatric speech-language pathologist for an evaluation.

Watch the video: HOW TO PLAY WITH YOUR CHILD: At Home Play Therapy and Speech Therapy for Late Talking Toddlers! (August 2022).

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