Developmental milestones in communication
Are you worried about your preschooler or kindergartener? Maybe there have been signs that something is just not quite right with her communication skills, or her preschool teacher has mentioned she isn’t reaching typical communication milestones just yet. You’ve maybe even heard that it is “just a phase” or that your child will “catch up” with the other kids her age. While every child is an individual and will make progress at his or her own unique pace, it is also important to listen to those gut feelings and inner voices you have that something might be causing this delay.
Developmental Communication Milestones in the Early Years
Whether or not you suspect a problem or challenge for your child you should be aware of the developmental communication milestones that exist for his or her age group. These early years are usually a time of great strides, especially towards academic skill building. The foundations of writing, reading, and more comprehensive conversation skills are just some aspects of communication milestones that should begin to be reached during these years.
I Think There Is A Problem – What Do I Do?
After you’ve taken an assessment of age-appropriate milestones, ask yourself some of these questions about your child’s personal development. It is important to start with how you and your family see your child developing because you are the ones who spend the most time with him or her, and are likely to be the most in tune with her development and how it affects daily life. Address your concerns with your child’s pediatrician or healthcare provider, as well as any preschool or kindergarten teachers or staff members. There are many resources available to help diagnose developmental communication delays or disorders.
If your child has been attending preschool or kindergarten, talk with his or her teachers about communication milestones that might not be met. Sometimes these professionals have procedures in place to work as a team with school SLP’s to evaluate and form plans for helping students.
If your child isn’t meeting communication milestones as expected, it can be the sign of an individual communication delay, or it may be a symptom of a larger problem. Communication delays and disorders can be present as parts of other sometimes more serious disorders or disabilities. Autism, a brain injury causing apraxia of speech, and dysarthria (oral muscle weakness) are just some conditions that can cause children to have communication delays but that represent a larger health issue. Children should have a complete health physical to look for any underlying causes behind lagging communication milestones.
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