After 11 years of working with families of children with communication delays, the top reason that parents wait for treatment is due to the advice given to them by their pediatrician: “let’s wait and see”, “come back in six months”, “give ’em a little more time”.
Honestly, Pediatricians are the first line of defense when parents have concerns with their little, and rightfully so, because they’re typically the ones tracking the child’s development. However, the slippery slope is that pediatricians tend to err on the side of caution when dealing with developmental delays in infants and toddlers and caregivers tend to believe that 8 years of medical school makes their pediatrician an authority on all things, even communication; but, what if I told you that it Doesn’t!
When it comes to communication, the pediatrician is not always the most appropriate professional to seek out. Think about it, if you had concerns of heart disease, you could go to your primary care physician; but, seeking out a cardiologist would probably be better as they are the ones who specialize in matters of the heart. The same goes for communication development.
From an early intervention perspective, waiting to seek treatment is the worst possible recommendation that a doctor can give regarding speech and language development as the birth to five years are so important with 0 to 3 being the most critical!
If you have concerns about your child’s development consult a Speech Language Pathologist. They have a unique skill set that can help to identify problems as well as the expertise to develop an effective treatment plan.
Not sure if you have concerns? Here are a few red flags that might help:
- Less than 10 words by 18 months
- No eye contact (looking at faces, turning toward sounds)
- Doesn’t respond to name being called
- Not playing with others, would rather be alone
- Isn’t babbling or making noise by 6 months.
Research shows that the earlier speech and language difficulties are identified the less likely they are to worsen. For more information on the importance of early intervention click here