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Does my child need speech therapy?

    The most reliable method to determine if you’re child needs speech therapy is to have them evaluated by a licensed speech and language pathologist. There are a few indicators that might help you determine that your child needs to be evaluated.

    Stuttering

    Stuttering is a lifelong problem for some children, but it does not have to hinder your child’s life. It should not limit your child’s ability to make friends, learn in school, develop lasting relationships, or reach his or her career goals. It is often exacerbated in social settings, including in front of a large group or on the phone. However, it can be treated with various strategies, including singing, reading, and speaking in unison.

    Interruptions in speech

    Interruptions in speech can be related to stuttering or other symptoms. Initially, it can be difficult to cope with the child’s frustration, but there are steps that you can take to make the process easier for your child. First, make sure that your child doesn’t feel self-conscious about the situation. Keep a calm, relaxed attitude when speaking to them. Try to speak slowly and clearly, and avoid making them feel self-conscious or embarrassed.

    Difficulty Reading

    Dyslexia is a learning challenge that involves difficulty reading, often mixing up words and letters within a word. As a result, they may not like to read, or become anxious when asked to read, especially in public.

    Challenges with writing

    As your child is learning to write, you may notice that they have difficulty learning to write letters consistently. Their letters might be different sizes, or their spacing varies greatly. They may also consistently misspell words or consistently write the wrong words.

    Unable or Unwilling to speak

    Children with speech disorders may be delayed in when they start to talk because they have a physiological condition that makes it difficult. Some may be able to speak, but because it is difficult, or it is embarrassing to them, they decide not to. They may appear anxious when required to speak.

    What to do

    The list above is not exhaustive, but if you suspect any of the above symptoms in your child’s speech, a speech-language pathologist can evaluate them and determine whether speech therapy is recommended. The therapist will also monitor your child’s fluency and may recommend other treatment services. Effective therapists will assess your child for specific milestones of speech development and help you understand where your child is relative to standards for their age. Your child’s pediatrician may be able to refer you to a speech-language pathologist in your area. Be sure to let them know you are a homeschooling parent, if you haven’t already. A speech-language pathologist can often be recommended by homeschool group in your area. We are compiling a list of Speech Clinics that specialize in Homeschool Speech Therapy on our Resources page.