Communication difficulties in children are often missed or ignored as there is a lot of pressure to achieve academic success and, unless it’s really obvious, parents and teachers assume it will just go away. In fact, in most cases children do grow out of their immature patterns; as with all of their developmental milestones…children grow up. However, a minority of children (approximately 1 in 10) have persistent issues with communication, which can cause a cascade of related problems, including low self-esteem, negative attitude to school work, attention & behaviour issues, social issues at home or school etc.

Speech Therapy for children covers a wide range of issues which are not widely recognised. These include:

reading, writing & spelling issues

making sense of what is said or written
auditory processing disorder (affecting understanding & literacy)
word-finding difficulties (affecting understanding and expression)
attention issues (including ADHD)
behaviour issues related to communication problems
Asperger’s (socialisation and pragmatic use of language)
voice problems (hoarse, volume, tone)
play development in young children
hidden language disorders (eg. semantic-pragmatic)
nasal speech (related to cleft or mouth breathing)

Signs to watch out for, depending on their age

child appears to be in a world of their own
difficulty socialising and making friends
doesn’t understand jokes
seems to have more to say but cant find the words
difficulty following instructions in class
frustrated when talking
sentence construction is late developing
literacy skills slow to develop

In summary, if you have any concerns about your child’s speech or language development, including obvious issues like stammering or clarity of speech (lisps, sound errors), then contact a Speech Therapist for a professional opinion. It’s worth checking & sorting out earlier rather than later.