After practicing for over 50 years as a speech pathologist, I have noticed that one thing remains unchanged: the consistent utterance of “your child will outgrow this,” to speech delays. I am not sure what that means. but I do know that when a parent hears those words they often delay utilizing the services of a speech/language pathologist, even just for an evaluation.

I think that part of the reason private practices exist is that families want a definition for their child’s speech/language development from a specialist in the service.

Most speech/language delays in early childhood should be addressed by a speech pathologist as early as possible to prevent long-standing delays in language development that may affect reading and sentence production later in education.

As for articulation delays, they may be due to childhood apraxia of speech or phonological issues, either of which should be addressed early in development, as well. However, a parent may not recognize the articulation issues until the child has acquired enough language to begin speaking in sentences or phrases. Or the articulation disorder may present in a way that has delayed expressive language development. A parent may translate the child’s utterance to be a complete sentence when the child was missing key grammatical elements as stated above.

A child may present with speaking in phrases at 3 years instead of 8-9 word sentences. This requires therapy to increase verbal output as well as improve articulation skills.

A child may develop difficulty with language development in terms of utilizing variety of verb tenses, pluralization of nouns, third-person singular use, pronoun use, etc. Also, a delay may be noted later in reading and writing skills.

Please remember that when in doubt contact a certified speech/language pathologist for confirmation of a speech/language disorder.

Jill Feldbaum, MA-CCC, SLP

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