Why Speech and Language Therapy?
The limits of my language means the limits of my world (Ludwig Wittgenstein.
peech, Language and Communication are integral skills required for so many of the things we hold important in life: forming social bonds, academic success, employment opportunities to name a few. Arguably these skills are the most important we will ever develop and are certainly the most complex set of skills we ever learn.
Most of us take Communication, Speech and Language for granted, but the development of these skills is incredibly complex. Communication skills start from the moment we are born; eye contact with our parents is established within a very short time after birth, usually around 8 weeks. The bond babies develop with their parents is important and it is important for everyone in the baby’s life to realise the role they play in supporting their baby’s communication development.
Babies need lots of face to face interaction and adults to talk to them as they are growing up, so they too can learn how to communicate effectively.
Most of us develop language in a typical fashion, and although not all children develop these skills at exactly the same time, we can roughly predict when we might start seeing certain features (for example, first words usually between 1 year and 18 months old; certain speech sounds developing by certain ages). But given the complex nature of Speech and Language development things, for some children, can go wrong. Even a relatively small difficulty (for instance, not being able to say a couple of sounds accurately) can have a large impact.
The first 5 years of children’s lives are are considered the most critical in terms of developing Communication, Speech and Language skills. If something isn’t developing along the general expected time frames (for instance, if your child hasn’t said their first words by 2 years of age) it is worth asking for a Speech and Language Therapy referral. There may be nothing to worry about, but early intervention is very important. The earlier we can identify a problem, the better we are able to help.
But we shouldn’t overlook the support and help we can also provide to older children. Any child or adult), no matter what age, who has a difficulty communicating can get support through Speech and Language Therapy.