Speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose, and treat disorders to make sure your child stays on track for happy, healthy development.
Written by Caitlin McGowan, MS, CCC-SLP, CBS, Clinic Manager at CORA Daleville Pediatrics
Parents are never lacking in reasons to panic about their child’s growth and development from birth through adulthood. It’s human nature to calm our fears by making sure everything is going as planned. When it comes to your child’s growth and development, pediatric therapists are the perfect professionals to turn to for advice, knowledge, and resources.
Here are five reasons why you should act sooner rather than later if you find yourself concerned about your child’s development, including things such as learning to walk, talk, eat, or anything else that comes with the territory of raising an infant.
- Peace of mind. A professional can listen to your concerns as a parent and assess your child’s needs. After a quick evaluation, they can determine if your child is on track to meet milestones or identify specific areas that might need a little extra support. Either way, seeking the opinion of a licensed speech-language pathologist offers you peace of mind that you’re getting top-quality, individualized information. Seeking expert care and advice is way more comforting than generalizations and vague information from the internet or well-intentioned friends and family. On top of that, professionals most always provide a wealth of information and ideas for ways you can support your child’s growth and learning at home, whether therapy is recommended or not.
- Early action allows you to explore all the options. There are so many programs available to support children and their families. From Early Intervention to school-based programs to outpatient therapy programs, identifying resources and services soon after concerns arise allows you to learn about these options, and take advantage of them if they are needed. For example, Early Intervention services are available from the time a child is born until their third birthday. Early action gives parents the opportunity to take advantage of age-based services before it’s too late.
- Sometimes, services take time. This is the one I wish was not the case; however, there may be waiting times for some services. Although agencies do their best to optimize schedules so that everyone gets services promptly, parents can avoid longer wait times for services by reaching out as soon as you feel your child might need them. Gain confidence and reassurance in seeking support and resources early on in your child’s development. Be proactive.
- Professionals can point you in the right direction. If you make an appointment for, say, occupational therapy and the therapist determines that your child needs speech therapy then they can responsibly guide you towards additional resources and specialists that benefit your child. Seeking professional advice early on can open doors to connect you with the help you’ve been looking for all this time.
- Early action gives the most opportunity for rapid improvement. Research shows that development is a continuum and many kids who are developing more slowly than their peers eventually “catch up.” For example, between 20-30% of late talkers do not grow out of their delay without intervention. That means the remaining 70-80% usually make that natural progression. Regardless, acting fast and getting ahead of any issues instead of deciding to “wait and see” can make a major difference in the development of young children. Waiting to intervene until a child is older puts them at risk for persistent difficulties throughout their development. Additionally, we know that the brains of babies and toddlers are designed to learn rapidly for years on end. Calling on early intervention resources at the onset allows us, as specialists, to capitalize on the incredible learning capabilities of infants and toddlers. Such action often gives parents and children alike the quick growth and improvement that we want to see.
Why Wait? Act Early, Act Now.
If you are concerned about your child’s development, it’s best to reach out to your pediatrician or even directly to a pediatric therapist near you. CORA’s team of speech-language pathologists and physical and occupational therapists are knowledgeable, dedicated, and always happy to work with you and your child to make sure they’re on track for happy, healthy development. And we’re here to help give parents the peace of mind you deserve.