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Does My Child Need Therapy?  A few red flags to look for

Summer is here and most of us are spending more time with the kids. Schedules are more relaxed and there are no schoolwork woes to worry about. This time is a great time to really get know your kids strengths and weakness. Their likes and dislikes. How long they can stay up without becoming crying messes of fatigue the next day. I like to use summer to personally assess where my kids are with their core skills and use the time to strengthen areas of weakness and super-strengthen their strengths. They’ll love me for it later. Not so much now. But that’s not important. What’s important is that for parents who have been wondering how their children are doing to use this time to find out. And language is no different. If you are wondering if your child is having difficulty understanding or expressing language, there are a few things you can look for. Younger children who are experiencing language difficulties may exhibit the following:

  • Difficulty following one or multistep directions

  • Delayed response in answering questions

  • Repeating what has been said to them

  • Doesn’t answer yes/no or simple questions

  • Does not attempt to communicate

  • Exhibits inappropriate play with toys

  • Limited sentence length

  • Reduced vocabulary

Older Kids often struggle with higher-level language skills such as inferencing, analogies, idioms, but because these aren’t concepts you tend to run into easily during dinnertime, parents often don’t even realize their child might be having problems. These are language concepts that require abstract and deductive verbal reasoning. Some indications that children may be struggling with higher level language skills include:

  • Difficulty sequencing events correctly

  • Difficulty understanding cause and effect relationships

  • Difficulty understanding jokes, riddles and/or humor

  • Difficulty understanding nonverbal language, facial expressions, and/or body language

  • Inability to recognize the difference between literal and nonliteral language

  • Difficulty making predictions

  • Difficulty establishing and maintaining peer social relationships

These are just a few signs that your child may be struggling with language. This list is not all-inclusive, meaning there are other signs that may be present that are not listed here, and conversely, your child does not need to exhibit all these signs for a language disorder to present. The presence of even one or two of these red flags may indicate there’s a breakdown in language. It is also good to remember, that like all skills, language skills are developmental and every skill has an age of emergence when we expect the child to have mastered the skill, so it is also important to remember that some skills listed may not be appropriate for your child’s developmental age. If there is any concern about your child’s language, it is always best to have a licensed and certified Speech Pathologist evaluate them to determine the presence and severity of a disorder. If you would like to have your child evaluated by one of our licensed and certified Speech Pathologists, or if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s language skills, please contact us at 404-606-3755.

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