SPEECH & LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
Communication is fundamental to school success. Approximately 13% of Australian school children have a disorder that affects their communication. This equates to 3 children in every NSW primary classroom (based on an average class size of 24).
Difficulties identified by speech pathologists include a delay or disorder in any or all of the following:
production of speech sounds (articulation and phonology),
comprehending, remembering, and following verbal or written instructions (receptive language and language processing)
verbal or written use of vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure (expressive language)
pre- and early literacy skills such as being able to recognize and use rhyme, break words into syllables, blend phonemes into syllables and words, identify the beginning and ending sounds in a syllable and see smaller words within larger words such as “cat” in “catalog” (phonological awareness)
listening and attending (auditory processing)
Communication difficulties significantly impact a child's
school participation and educational performance.
THE CRITICAL AGE OF 5 YEARS
The first four years of a child's life are very significant for speech and language development. Once a child commences school, they face the demands of a school curriculum which is heavily reliant on language competence.
Extensive research has concluded that 5 year olds entering school with significant untreated speech and language difficulties demonstrate ongoing educational difficulties. The long-term effects include difficulties with reading, spelling, writing, and numeracy, social challenges and low self-esteem. They have also been found to be at greater risk of bullying and report less school enjoyment than their peers.
(Bashir & Scavuzzo, 1992; Beitchman et al., 1994; Paul and Kellogg, 1997; Johnson et al 1999; Tomblin, Zhang, Buckwalter, and Catts, 2000; Young et al, 2002; Conti-Ramsden and Botting, 2004).
Children are at greater risk if:
they are male
they have had a history of middle ear infections or hearing loss
there is a family history of communication and/or literacy difficulties
they have a reactive personality (tend to give up and not complete challenging activities; easily frustrated; often described as "strong-willed")
they were breast fed for less than 9 months
Children rarely spontaneously "grow out of" speech and language difficulties.
Seeing a Speech Pathologist early gives you more time to address issues
before your child starts school.
WHAT TO EXPECT (& When to Seek Help)
My child isn't talking Between two & three years Between three & four years
Between four & five years Over five years & school age
Concerned about STUTTERING ?
Here is some great information from
Kids Health, TCH Westmead