Next Steps If Your Child Seems Slow to Hear or Speak

November 4, 2020

Holistic development occurs in multiple stages. Naturally, children are expected to progress sequentially as they grow older. For some, this process occurs within the required time frame while for others certain hurdles emerge along the way. 

According to Jean Piaget, developmental milestones are characterized by four key stages: the motor stage, cognitive development, language and speech, and finally the operational stage. Each of these is interdependent.  Before your little one can upgrade to motor responses, for example, there must be some degree of brain maturity. 

When it comes to hearing and speech, the same principle applies. Without proper hearing, a child cannot respond to sound stimulus. Speech only manifests where sound is appropriately received, and not just that, but made sense of.  

This is what happens during the first 3-4 months of life -- a child deciphers the sounds emanating from their immediate surroundings. They may not reciprocate the same verbally, but the brain is tuned to somewhat register the different noises. Further along the next 2 months, you may begin to notice babbling sounds which later on progresses to much clearer words. 

It is not uncommon to experience delays in such areas.  It could be merely a temporal stunt that will overtime fade away.  However, certain signs may be potential indicators of serious developmental interruption. 

Here is what to look out for:

  • Hearing impairment - when your child seems to constantly have to move closer to the TV. 
  • Inattentiveness - not responding to your voice.
  • If your child seems to communicate more with gestures than with words.
  • Lack of reflex actions- not crying when the door is shut loudly, for example.
  • Structural defects, the most popular being a tongue-tie.

Child experts suggest that a normally developing baby should register tremendous growth strides by the age of two.  Older children experiencing either one of these challenges risk worse complications in the future.  

What Actions to Take

1. Set an appointment with a speech-language pathologist - this will tell whether your child needs early intervention therapy or not. Several tests are done before concluding. You may want to ask your doctor all the possible questions and get clarity for your concerns.

2. Make a referral - this simply means contacting an EI program within your state or local area. Usually, a referral form is filled out by the parents availing residential and contact details as well as related child information. 

From this point, a service provider is assigned to verify whether indeed your child is eligible for special care. Upon qualification, immediate treatment can start.

3. Prepare for the initial visit - this is done for formal acquaintance. As a parent, you want to express your expectations and hear how practical it is to achieve the same. Also, get to know what kind of support is needed from your end. 

4. Get your child’s medical records in check - it will be helpful to assemble past and present medical data so that the EI team is updated on your child’s history. This will help in structuring a beneficial treatment plan. 

Here at About Play, your child’s growth is our topmost priority. We offer a vast range of child specialists to walk this journey with you. Our services extend to all eligible candidates regardless of family income. Partner with us today!

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