Q) What is a speech pathologist and what does a speech pathologist do?

A) A Speech Pathologist is trained at University to assess and identify speech and language delay/disorders and provide therapy to individuals who present with these difficulties. They focus on improving a child’s abilities to express themselves and to understand others. Speech pathology intervention can be evidence-based, which means the strategies, techniques, resources and homework has been researched and studied over many years to prove that it is beneficial and effective. 

Q) How common is it for children to present with language delay?

A) Approximately 12% per cent of children will present with a language delay, with some researchers saying this figure can be even higher.  This is a natural difficulty in acquiring language and is not anyone’s fault.

Q) What age do kids start talking?

A)  Children typically start saying first words around 12 months of age. 

Q) What is early intervention support?

A) Early Intervention is providing support between the ages of 0-6 years.  Early intervention is also providing support at the first signs of a child’s difficulty.  It has been shown to have the best outcomes for children compared to if they access support at a later time. 

Q) My child is having difficulties with speech and language. Will they grow out of it?

A) No. Language is a natural acquisition and babies/infants are wired to develop language. If a child is having delays or difficulties it is because it is naturally harder for them and they need support and intervention as soon as the difficulty is observed. 

Q) I talk to my child and they go to childcare. Does that mean they are reaching speech and language milestones?

A) Not necessarily. If you are concerned about your child’s speech or language development, a standardised assessment will show whether they are within the expected age range.

Q) My child is having some difficulties with speech and language. Won’t childcare/preschool/school teach them this?

A) No. These environments facilitate learning by providing education, structure and the potential for social interactions with peers. Your child will need specialized support with their speech and language difficulties and to help them access the curriculum at preschool/school.

Q) My two-year-old child isn’t talking yet. Should I wait and just see how he goes?

A) No. If your child is not speaking by two years of age, it is a key indicator that speech and language is delayed and therefore assessment and therapy is warranted.

Q) How many words should a two-year-old say?

A) A two-year-old child should typically have a vocabulary of approximately 50 to 75 words, and join two words together such as “bear eat” and “bubble pop.”

Q) My child stutters. Will they grow out of it?

A) Some children will naturally stop stuttering without intervention. However, some children will require speech therapy to help eliminate the stutter. Stuttering therapy is recommended if your child is over 3.5 years of age and has been stuttering for more than 6 months. The Lidcombe Program is the only evidence-based program to help preschool-aged children recover from stuttering.

Q)My child is learning two languages. Will this cause speech and language delay?

A) No. Learning two or more languages does not cause speech and language delay.  Research shows that children who come from a home with 2 or more languages are more likely to have strengths in speech and language skills.   

Q) How long is a speech therapy session?

A) Speech therapy sessions are typically 30-60 minutes and recommended weekly based on research on speech and language intervention. Homework is provided between sessions and a communication book is given to school or childcare givers to help with practice.

Q) How long will my child need speech therapy?

A) The length of time depends on the age and needs of your child.  Children who need help with speech sounds only may attended therapy for a shorter period than a child requiring language therapy, or speech and language therapy.  Speech therapy helps a child reach their potential and participate at school and with friends, rather than aim to reach a particular ‘language score’ or ‘typical age range’.