Early Intervention for Speech: What to Expect

Early childhood is an important time for any child. They are growing, learning new things, and developing new skills. But not all children develop skills at the same time or at the same level. Sometimes they need help and that’s where early intervention can come in. While there are many types of early intervention, speech is a common one that many parents worry about. 
If you suspect your child is struggling with their speech, early intervention services may be just what your child needs.

How To Know If Your Child Needs Early Intervention For Speech

It can be difficult knowing whether your child needs early intervention support for their speech or not. Luckily, there are a few things you can look out for that can signal that they may not be developing as quickly as they should. Your child may need early intervention for speech if:
  • They are not talking
  • They have a speech impediment like a stutter
  • They aren’t babbling
  • Their voice or speech is inconsistent
  • They have a cleft palate
  • Their speech is difficult to understand
  • They are a late talker

Enroll As Soon As Possible

Once you suspect your child needs early intervention services for speech, enrolling them in an early intervention program is the next step. You’ll want to do this as soon as possible. The faster they receive help, the faster you’ll start to see results in their speech.
Before enrolling in early intervention, a speech therapist will evaluate your child’s language and communication skills. If they are diagnosed with a speech delay or another language issue, the therapist will also likely recommend specific early intervention services. But what does early intervention mean exactly? What should you expect from those first sessions? Let’s take a look.

What To Expect From Early Intervention Services

Early intervention services vary from child to child based on their unique needs. For a child that needs speech support, the first few sessions are typically with a speech therapist, a speech-language pathologist, or a trained early interventionist (EI). They will start by getting to know your child and building a rapport with them. This usually includes sitting on the floor and playing. Once your child feels comfortable with them, they will move on to activities to help their speech.
An early interventionist may also ask you several questions about your child, their speech, and their interests. They may give you a few tips on how to interact with your child to help build up their language skills.
The following sessions will start with an ice breaker like a song or playing with a toy. After that, the real work begins. Most of it still involves play but the therapist will include activities that help your child communicate. This may include singing, crafts, games, or playing outside.
After each therapy session, the early interventionist will talk to you about any concerns they have or any questions they need answered. They may also give you activities to do in between sessions to keep your child learning and growing.

Recommended Early Intervention Activities for Speech

The professional working with your child will be able to give you specific activities that will work best for your child, but there are some general early intervention activities for speech that may be helpful to you.

Singing & Play

Singing is a great way to help your child communicate and better develop their speech. The songs should be age-appropriate but the song can be as simple as the alphabet song or Wheels on the Bus.
You can even make it more fun by adding in dance moves or hand motions. This can be done during breakfast, lunch, or while you’re in the car.

Sensory Play

Playing with toys that stimulate a child’s senses is another great way to develop their speech. You can ask them what a toy feels like, what it smells like, what colors it is, or even what sound it makes. Having them talk while they play can be one of the most fun ways to help develop their speech. You can even invite in a friend or a sibling. As they play and talk, they are working on their language skills.

Bath Time

Bath time is another perfect moment to work on speech development. Ask them questions about the water or how it feels. Let them come up with a story and use their imagination.
You can bring in toys as well. Ask about the toys, have them tell a story, and maybe your child will have the rubber duck and the sponge talk to each other. As they develop their speech, you might even want to get bathtub paint and write words in the tub for them to say aloud.
If your child has a speech delay, enrolling them in early intervention services can help their growth tremendously. Our EI specialists are trained to support their learning and development through fun play activities. For more information, contact our team online.

If you live in South Carolina and think your infant or child is experiencing developmental delays, we can help.

where do we offer early intervention services?

Our services are available for babies, toddlers, and their families in almost every county in South Carolina.

Click on your county to see the early interventionists available.