From the moment a child is born, they are continually maturing and developing. Perhaps one of the most critical developments for a child is within their social-emotional health. Speech plays an essential role in this development.
People love communicating, which is why it is one of the most essential skills for an individual to develop. When it comes to children’s social-emotional development, some just need time. Others need early intervention, though, and can benefit from speech therapy.
Speech in Children’s Social-Emotional Health and Development
The development of speech and self-expression skills is absolutely vital in the development of a child’s social-emotional health. Taking place in early childhood, the development of communication skills allows a child to form a basic understanding of the world. It will enable them to adequately and efficiently express their feelings and ideas.
Regardless of your age, emotions are a complex concept. In order to help navigate and express feelings, proper speech development is essential. When a child’s speech development is underdeveloped, this can severely limit their capacity to both processes and express their emotions.
Speech is also important for academic success. Besides the obvious connection of writing and verbal communication with learning, there are also other factors speech plays in academics. Mainly, children are keen observers of their environment and peers.
It is this observation that makes them well aware of any differences between them and their classmates. If a child’s speech development is behind or differs from the other children, this can negatively impact their emotions and confidence in school, lowering academic performance.
For some of these children, they can also become frustrated and anxious among their peers. Unfortunately, some kids may tease or reject those with speech issues. This can potentially have a severely negative impact on a child’s social-emotional health.
Isolation can also occur as, for a coping mechanism, children can use it to avoid these types of uncomfortable situations.
Identifying Speech Issues
Identifying speech issues can allow parents to take proper steps for intervention. Though it may be challenging to identify a speech issue in young children, you can do it when you know some of the common signs and symptoms.
Between the age of six and eighteen months, children should be interacting with other people, understanding the meaning behind some basic words, and beginning to speak. They should be using gestures to communicate by the 12-month mark and turning into full word vocalizations as a primary communication tool by 18 months. Delay or the lack of these milestones can signify a speech issue or another condition.
As children age, issues with their speech and communication skills may present as isolation from others, hindering their social-emotional health. Symptoms of this include children that are easily frustrated, extreme shyness, and emotional outbursts.
Even there are no apparent symptoms of delayed speech or social-emotional health, it is imperative to keep an eye out for speech that is behind that of their peers.
Identifying Properly Developed Speech
How can you tell if your child is appropriately developing their speech and social-emotional health? First, children who are meeting these milestones tend to be happier, listen and follow directions from others, and show interest in other people.
They can also correctly interact with their peers. Not only can they express their emotions, but children with properly developed speech and social-emotional health are more likely to participate in group activities. They can also play and compromise with their peers.
If you feel that your child’s speech development is delayed or is negatively impacting their social-emotional health, speech therapy can help. This is especially true if there are facing constant issues with speech-related issues with little or no progress. Just remember that there is an acceptable range of development, so comparing your child to their peers may not always be the best way to identify an issue.
However, talking to your child’s teacher or doctor will give you a better idea if there is a real developmental issue and if speech therapy may help. They have received specific training to identify speech and development issues and can help you get the help your child needs.
When locating a speech-language pathologist (SLP), you will want to make sure that the therapist and program will fit both the needs of the child and parent. Speak with your pediatrician, friends, family, and other parents for local therapists. The best speech therapists will be knowledgeable and can work with both parent and child easily and comfortably.
Before beginning therapy, an SLP will thoroughly evaluate and diagnose the potential source of the child’s speech delay. Whether it is a structural issue with the mouth or tongue, hearing issues, oral-motor impairment, or other issues, an SLP will tailor the therapy to the child’s needs.
Depending on the age of the child, therapy and intervention styles can vary. For younger children, treatment is stylized around play, group reading, and other group activities. As children grow, speech therapy is sometimes offered in a school setting. SLPs can also recommend the appropriate home practice, which may remove pressure from the child.
The length and frequency of speech therapy can vary based on the child’s age and needs. Usually, treatment lasts anywhere between eight months to one year.
The Role of Speech in Children’s Social-Emotional Health and Development
Speech therapy and early recognition of speech issues can help positively influence a child’s social-emotional health. Give your child the best start for their development and growth by watching out for the symptoms and signs of delayed speech development and taking the appropriate action.
If you’re still looking for the right speech therapy program for your child, schedule a call with us today so we can discuss the different solutions we offer.