My child is 4 and still isn’t speaking – where do I start?
By the age of 4, most toddlers are talking pretty well… almost too much sometimes! Many parents welcome bed time when the constant chirping of little voices finally goes quiet.
But when your child doesn’t speak at all, or if you are the only one who can understand their ‘language’, it can be worrying. Especially when you see other kids their age chatting away non-stop.
Talking is an important communicative skill, and the last thing parents want is for their little one to fall behind at school, or to be left out at playtime!
If you’re a bit worried about your child’s speech development, a visit to a speech therapist may give you the answers you’re looking for.
How do I know if my child needs Speech Therapy?
Typical language development timelines go something like this:
- At 1 year, most children utter their first words
- By 2 years, most children have a vocabulary of 50+ words, and have started combining them in speech (eg: ‘want cookie’, ‘go bye-bye’)
- At 4 years, kids usually know hundreds of words and can create sentences 5-6 words long. Other people can understand them clearly too.
It’s important to remember that kids come in all shapes and sizes, and develop at their own pace. If your child hasn’t hit these milestones yet, they might just be a late talker. But their development isn’t something you want to risk. If you have concerns, they will only benefit
from seeing a speech therapist for an assessment – they will let you know where your child is at in regards to their communication development and give you some strategies to continue to develop their language at home or recommend therapy options.
How can SpeechEase help?
At SpeechEase, our speech therapists use evidence-based speech therapy that’s designed to stimulate and accelerate your child’s language and communication skills. We love helping kids develop their ability to speak and be understood, and are passionate about what we do!
We offer a free over the phone consultation to see if speech therapy could benefit your child.
Do I need a referral?
You don’t need a referral to see us. That being said, a referral from your GP might make you eligible for a Medicare rebate to assist with some of the cost for up to 5 sessions using an Enhanced Primary Care / Chronic Disease management plan.
We are also registered providers of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. For private health insurance holders, we provide on-site convenience of HICAPS to claim eligible rebates.
We’re a passionate, friendly, and family-centred Speech Pathology practice with locations in Townsville and Mackay. We also visit Ayr and Charters Towers every fortnight, and provide services to remote communities as required.
We work together with you, your child, and your family to reach your goals. After all, you’re the #1 expert on your child – so your perspective is welcomed and encouraged!
SpeechEase’s caring speech pathologists are all trained to assess speech, language, and literacy strengths and difficulties using a range of formal and informal assessments. We treat any issues using a range of approaches, tailoring our treatment to best suit your child. Together, we can all help your child thrive!
What happens during the initial consult?
Your speech therapist’s first job is to assess your child’s speech and language. We do this by talking to you, the parent, and asking questions that help us get a solid understanding of your child. Family history, health, development and education will be discussed. We’ll also talk about your current concerns, and seek to understand your goals for your child.
Next, we’ll observe your child through a structured play session. It looks like fun – and it is! – but during our session, we’re carefully looking for key signals that help us work out possible issues, as well as learning about your child’s unique personality. We also use this time to determine what formal assessments, if any, are required as well as building a solid rapport with the child so they want to keep coming back to therapy!
What’s involved in speech therapy sessions?
No two kids are the same, so therapies can look quite different from child-to-child. Our work is all about finding the best approach to suit your little one’s preferences, strengths and challenges.
Treatments may include working directly with your child, or using indirect approaches such as teaching through play. We carefully create a plan based on your child’s individual needs, and incorporate a range of therapies – there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Sessions may be 1:1 or group activities – once again we determine our approach according to what works best for your child.
We also include strategies for parents to implement at home. After all, we’re only with your child for an hour or two, so it’s very important that the work we do together is carried forward at home too.
To help parents understand and assist their child in speech development, we hold regular information sessions where we teach techniques that can help develop communicative skill.
What to do next
Call us on 0423 334 144 for a confidential chat about your child’s speech development. We have no wait lists, which means your child can be getting help the same week you get in touch with us. We’re looking forward to meeting you both!