Mikee Larrazabal 8 min read

Early Intervention for Children with Language Delay

Every child develops at their own pace. Children may say their first word as early as 11 months while others produce theirs at the age of 2. However, we follow a natural progression of development for mastering a certain skill. If you notice your child has difficulties, it is best to seek help immediately. Early intervention is intended for children ages birth to 3. It even extends until the age of 5. Together with the child’s family, early intervention highly benefits children with speech and language needs. To learn more about early intervention for speech therapy and the different language milestones, read more!

What is early intervention?

If you think your child is functioning differently from other children his/her age, he may or may not be delayed!

Early intervention for speech therapy

Early intervention is a type of intervention given to children in their formative years when speech and language difficulties are spotted. It is not just for the person who has a communication delay, but also for the families. It is also about educating and guiding everyone around them to maximize their speech and language potential.

Speech and language delay is common in children. Several children may outgrow their speech and language delay. However, a large portion of them may have persistent language difficulties when they grow old. That is why speech therapy for early intervention is important. Seeking help as soon as possible will help your child live their lives better without possible difficulties in the future!

For adults with language disorder, the first few months of recovery is crucial for better rehabilitative outcome! This is most applicable to adults who suffered from a stroke. Most speech and language improvements, given speech and language intervention, were significant in the first 6 months of post-stroke recovery.

The reason why early intervention is important

Accepting that your child needs help can be a bit frustrating, to say the least. Yes, it is normal to feel a roller coaster of emotions. However, there is no need to worry! We are here to help you and your child develop and outgrow their speech and language difficulties through early intervention for speech therapy. Let us explain five reasons why early intervention is very crucial to your child’s development.

1. It improves communication skills.

Research shows that a drastic change is noticed when speech and language difficulties are detected and treated early.

2. The development of the brain is at its peak in the first 3 years of a child’s life.

During a child’s formative years, the brain is like a sponge. They can easily acquire and develop speech and language skills during this intensive period of time. That is why early intervention is crucial in the first 3 years of life. The earlier you introduce language stimulation and learning opportunities, the better the outcome as the brain absorbs information better.

3. It improves your child’s mood.

If you are wondering why your child gets frustrated easily, it is highly a result of communicative frustration. They cannot communicate their wants and needs. Just like you, your child gets upset easily when you did not meet his/her demands. When your child learns how to use appropriate gestures or words, a dramatic amount of difference can be observed. There is a positive change in the overall well-being of the child when they realize how fun it is to communicate with words rather than just emotionally driven cries.

4. Parents become more involved.

Parents, you are your child’s first and best teacher. If you are a first-time mother or if you do not know where to start if your child is diagnosed with a disorder, it is best to ask for help. The sooner you ask for help, the more aware you can become.

It is not just your child who needs help. You are also crucial to your child’s development. You need to know the basics of where to start and how to support your child’s potential! Help your child, help your family.

Better Speech consultation for APD

5. Intervention works!

It is a no-brainer that speech therapy for early intervention really works! It’s just that early intervention works better. Seeking professional help from speech-language pathologists, early interventionists, teachers, and occupational therapists can give you a wide range of opportunities that can improve your child’s overall well-being.

Language Milestones to look out for

Now that you know how important early intervention is, let us talk about the language milestones you need to look out for. Language milestones are not here to scare us. It is there to guide us on whether your child falls under the range of normal language development.

When we were babies, we communicate first through crying. If we felt an urge to be carried or when we feel hungry, we express ourselves through crying to feel a sense of comfort.

Birth to 3 Months

  • He/she reacts to sounds in the environment
  • Your child calms down or reacts when spoken to a familiar person
  • During mealtime, your child starts or stops sucking in response to a loud sound
  • Starts to coo and make pleasure sounds such as “oohs” and “ahhs”
  • They have a specific way of crying to ask for different needs
  • Your child smiles when he/she sees a familiar person

4 to 6 Months

Speech therapy for early intervention
  • He or she follows the direction of a sound or object with his or her eyes
  • Your child responds to changes in the tone of your voice such as pitch and loudness
  • They prefer toys that make sounds
  • He or she likes to listen to music
  • They start to babble in speech-like sounds including sounds that begin with p, b, and m.
  • Your child starts to laugh
  • They start producing gurgling sounds when alone or playing with you

7 Months to 1 Year

  • Your child enjoys playing peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • They start listening when spoken to
  • He or she understands words for common words such as “milk” or “shoes”
  • They respond to simple commands and requests (“Come here”) in their daily routine
  • He or she plays with speech sounds and produces reduplicated babbling such as “mama” “tata” “baba.”
  • They babble to get mommy’s attention
  • Your child starts communicating through gestures such as waving or clapping of hands
  • He or she imitates different speech sounds
  • They produce word approximations or even their first word (“Hi,” “dog,” “Dada,” or “Mama”).

1 to 2 Years

  • They start identifying a few body parts when asked to point them (“Where is your nose?”, “Point to your eyes”).
  • Your child follows simple commands (“get the milk”) and understands simple questions (“where is mommy?”)
  • He or she enjoys simple stories, songs, and rhymes
  • They start learning how to point to pictures or toy
  • Your child can acquire new words regularly.
  • He or she tries to connect two words to ask a question (“Where kitty?” or “Go bye-bye?”)
  • They put two words together (“Eat cookie”) to label

2 to 3 Years

  • They can label almost everything around him/her
  • He or she uses two- or three-word phrases to talk and ask for things
  • Your child uses other different sounds such as k, g, f, t, d, and n.
  • They tend to speak in a way that only family members can understand.

3 to 4 Years

  • They have the ability to hear you when you call them from a distance
  • He or she can answers simple “Who?” “What?” “Where?” and “Why?” questions
  • They can recall events about activities at daycare, preschool, or friends’ homes 
  • Your child can produce four or more word utterances in a sentence.
  • They can communicate easily without having to repeat syllables or words

4 to 5 Years

  • They can pay attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it 
  • He or she Hears and understands most of what is said to them
  • Your child uses sentences that have different and specific details
  • They tell stories that stay on topic
  • He or she can communicate easily with other children their age.
  • They can say most sounds correctly except for a few (l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th)
  • Through songs, children use rhyming words
  • He or she can develop an awareness to some letters and numbers
  • They can produce sentences with correct grammar
Language delay

Language Delay vs Disorder

There is a difference between language delay vs. language disorder. A language delay is a term used when a child is developing language however they acquire each skill slower than other children their age. They usually have difficulties developing receptive language, or the understanding of concepts and commands, and expressive language, or the production of words to label and request.

A language disorder is a term used when children do not develop language normally. Children with language disorders do not follow the usual pattern of speech and language development.

Early intervention for speech therapy

One of the many early interventionalist is a speech-language pathologist. Speech therapy for early intervention is very important! Just like what we’ve mentioned above, children with difficulties in communicative skills can highly benefit from speech therapy for early intervention. It does not only involve the child but also everyone around him/her, especially the family.

Language milestones

Speech-language pathologists, or SLP, are professionals who work with children who have speech and/or language delays. During the assessment, the SLP will ask questions about the child’s medical diagnosis or record. They will also identify the environmental circumstances such as who the child interacts with and how the child socializes with others his/her age.

Finally, together with other professionals, they will write an individualized family service plan. In this plan, they formulate goals, services, and supports for each specific child and family. You are part of the team. You also help during the decision-making.

To learn more about early intervention for speech therapy, contact us for a free consultation!