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Speech Improvement Center offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment services for children from birth to three years of age. With an estimated 1,460,583 speech and language disordered children living in the United States, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends parents closely monitor their children’s communication skills. Simply, if your child is not speaking by his/her first birthday and/or their speech is unclear, ASHA reports there may be cause for concern.

The following is a list of frequently asked questions on the topic of pre-school speech-language services.

Who Should Be Evaluated?
ASHA recommends at-risk or high risk children (NICU babies, chronic ear infections, premature babies) be evaluated early and regularly. Also any parent who suspects their child is not meeting their developmental milestone or notices their child’s speech and language differs from peers should consult with a speech-language pathologist.

What Is an Evaluation?
Evaluations may include a number of standardized tests, observations, developmental checklists, and a collection of a speech and language sample. Several sessions may be needed to obtain enough information in order to make a diagnosis. Evaluations can include a collaboration of professionals such as speech-language pathologists, audiologists, social workers, psychologists and neurologists.

What Is Speech-Language Treatment?
Speech treatment varies on the severity and type of diagnosis. With very young children therapy very often takes the form of parent counseling and language stimulation activities to help enable and support child development. Structured play tasks may be used to teach communication skills as well as model language structure and rules of conversation (such as turn taking).

Milestones According to the U.S. Department of Education, many toddlers express the following language skills at specific ages:

12 to 18 months – They say their first words. They understand a few words and simple directions. They know their own names. They will give you a toy if you ask for it. They create long babbling sentences and look at a picture book with interest. Contact a professional if your toddler at this age does not say more than a few words clearly.

18 to 24 months – Toddlers put two or more words together to make short sentences such as “want juice” or “car go.” They learn words quickly and can copy adult sounds, words and motions. They ask and answer simple questions. Contact a professional if your child at about 20 months cannot follow a simple request, such as “Come to Mommy,” or if your 24-month-old does not use two words together.

24 to 36 months – They listen to stories and like to play pretend games. They ask “why” questions and use “no” and “not” a lot. They enjoy looking at picture books, turning pages and naming objects they see. Contact a professional if your 2-year-old does not ask questions or respond to simple questions with “yes” or “no

For more information on pre-school speech and language disorders or to schedule an evaluation, contact us.