Speech Problems are Dramatically Increasing

A new study in the journal Pediatrics reported a dramatic rise in the rate of speech problems. Between 2001-02 and 2010-11, there was a 63% increase in disability related to speech problems. In light of this unsettling data, it is crucial for at-risk children to receive early intervention services. “At-risk” means a child is showing signs of a communication delay (read further for a list of signs).

The benefits of early intervention cannot be overstated. Elizabeth McCrea, PhD, CCC-SLP and ASHA president 2014 said:

Unlike many other conditions, early intervention often has the potential to prevent or reverse a communication disorder—or at least dramatically reduce the negative consequences it has on children’s academic and social success as well as their overall development.

    Remember, the red flags for a communication delay or speech problem include:

  • Premature birth
  • “Quiet” baby (limited cooing and babbling)
  • Minimal smiling or interaction with others
  • Makes few sounds or gestures
  • Poor imitative skills
  • Different skills compared to peer group
  • Limited vocabulary
  • Words are difficult to understand, even to those who are familiar with the child
  • Has difficulty playing and talking with peers

Share this important information with family, friends, doctors and educators! Increasing awareness is the best way to help at-risk children be identified early so they can receive early intervention services and reach their true potential.

If you have any concerns about your child, act now! Do not “wait and see.” As Elizabeth McCrea, PhD, CCC-SLP and ASHA president 2014 eloquently stated:

The earlier we reach a child, the more successful, the less expensive, and the shorter the course of treatment. By delaying an assessment and/or treatment to see if a child outgrows a potential disorder, parents may be missing a key window of opportunity.

Call for a free consultation at The Swain Center (707) 575-1468 or contact a local speech-language pathologist or regional center and request a speech and language evaluation.

Interview with Dr. Deborah Ross Swain, Ed.D., CCC-SLP

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