When people find out I’m a speech therapist, one of the first things they ask about is the ages of my patients. Most people are surprised to learn that speech therapists work with people of all ages, including babies and the elderly. People specifically ask about working with babies and toddlers, incorrectly assuming they are too young for therapy. What many of them don’t understand is why early intervention is important for any child with a delay, not just for those who have a diagnosis.
Children with a diagnosis, such as Down syndrome, autism, or cerebral palsy, need therapy in order to help with their language skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and/or sensory processing skills, but what about the children who are showing delays in these areas but do not have a diagnosis? Is early therapy appropriate for these children?
The answer is yes.
Some children have what’s called Developmental Delay. All children achieve developmental milestones at different times and slight lags aren’t always something to worry about. However, a child with Developmental Delay is notably delayed in cognitive, physical, communication, social/emotional, and/or adaptive development, and early intervention may be just as beneficial for these children as those with a more specific diagnosis.
Why early intervention?
Early intervention has been shown to decrease or close the “gap” in a child’s development. It has been proven to have long term effects such as improved academic skills, an increase in language skills, and a decrease in negative behaviors.
Not every child who shows a delay of some kind requires early intervention, but if a child needs intervention, it’s important to start as soon as possible. Because every skill builds on the one before it, waiting will cause any gaps in development to grow and it could take a lot more time and therapy to close the gap.
If you suspect that your child has a delay in one or more of these areas, it’s important to seek out a professional opinion. Developed over two decades of treating children, Kid’s Creek Therapy offers a FREE online GAP Assessment for parents with concerns. By answering a series of simple questions, you’ll instantly receive a score that will help you understand if your child may have an issue needing closer evaluation. If you have a nagging doubt or concern, our GAP Assessment can either identify potential issues or put your mind at ease. Click here for the free GAP Assessment.
Melanie McGriff, M.Ed., CCC-SLP