All children develop at their own pace and hit milestones according to their own unique schedule. This includes language development and speech. However, some children have more difficulty than others developing their speech, and this may be due to having a speech disorder. Speech disorders are not uncommon, and luckily highly trained speech-language pathologists can help a child to get on track through speech therapy. When it comes to speech disorders, early intervention is best, so it is good to know what signs to look out for that indicate that a child may need a speech evaluation. Some common signs that your preschooler may need speech therapy include:
Not Speaking in Sentences
By the time kids enter preschool, most of them are able to express their ideas in sentences. If your child is nearing the age of three or four and only expresses himself by using single words or short phrases, it may be because he does not know how to pronounce the words or is unable to plan out how to say a full sentence. This is not something that should be ignored--speech therapy can be extremely helpful, and with the help of a speech-language pathologist, your child will develop age-appropriate language skills.
Very Hard to Understand
Preschoolers are not known for speaking incredibly articulately, but by age three or four, the majority of kids can pronounce words well enough that they can be understood. If your child is trying to verbally express himself, but people are unable to understand him more than half the time, it can be due to an articulation disorder. There are many methods used in speech therapy to help a child learn how to use his mouth and tongue to properly create letter sounds. With regular speech therapy, articulation problems can improve in a very timely manner.
Difficulty With Pronouns
A lot of children with speech disorders have a hard time using the proper pronouns. For example, a child may always say "me" instead of "I", such as "can me have a glass of milk?" or "me like to color". With work and speech therapy, a child will learn all of the pronouns as well as how to use them the right way. With intensive speech therapy, children who speak in phrases and use the wrong pronouns typically improve month after month as their vocabulary grows and they work with their speech-language pathologist.