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Does My Child Need Speech Therapy

How do I know if my child needs speech therapy? Here are some “red flags” to look for in each area

Here are some “red flags” to look for in each area:


Receptive Language

  • Difficulty following one or two-step commandstin_can_communications_400_clr_9776

  • Requires visual or tactile cues to follow commands or complete tasks


Expressive Language

  • Uses very few words and/or is quiet most of the time

  • Uses mainly gestures to communicate

  • Uses crying, whining or frustrated/aggressive behavior to indicate wants/needs

  • By age two, children should have an expressive vocabulary of about 50 words and they should be beginning to combine words into short, two-word phrases (ex. Want juice).

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Uses speech but is difficult to understand

You have trouble understanding your child when he/she speaks

  • Friends and family members have trouble understanding your child when he/she speaks

  • Your child gets easily frustrated when you do not understand his/her speech

  • Your child substitutes, leaves out, distorts or adds sounds (ex. “dall” for “ball”; “ba” for “ball”; “balluh” for “ball”)


Oral Motor/Swallowing

  • Weak facial muscles characterized by open mouth chewing, difficulty drinking from a straw, difficulty using spoon/fork, difficulty chewing and/or swallowing food

  • Visibly choking on food when eating

  • “Silent aspiration” (food or drink going into the lungs after it is swallowed). Symptoms include watery eyes while eating and/or a “gurgly” vocal quality during or following eating or drinking



Stutters when talking

  • Ex. Repeating sounds or words; getting “stuck” on sounds or words

Voice and Resonancemouth_yelling_400_clr_11099

  • Hoarseness

  • Change in vocal quality following surgery. Common surgeries for children include removal of tonsils/adenoids, PE tube placement


  • Frequent ear infections

  • Doesn’t respond to sounds or voices when they cannot see the source (ex. doesn’t hear a door slam shut behind them; doesn’t respond to voices when they are not looking at the person speaking)

  • Appears to ignore others when spoken to

  • Asks others to repeat things multiple times

Social Aspects of Communication

  • Doesn’t play well with other children

  • Ignores other children, plays alongside other children but does not interact with them, inappropriate behavior with peers and adults (ex. hitting, aggressive behavior)

Cognitive Aspects of Communication

  • Difficulty maintaining attention to and or completing tasks

  • Difficulty remembering things that they have previously learned

  • Difficulty finding solutions to simple or complex problems


Alternative Communication Tools

  • Child is nonverbal and needs an alternative way to communicate

  • Child uses gestures to communicate

  • Child uses aggressive behaviors to communicate

Now that you know what a speech –language pathologist is and what types of delays and disorders they can treat, do you think your child could benefit from speech therapy?

Research shows that early intervention is essential to helping your child develop the skills that they need.

If your child demonstrates any of these “red flags” and/or you think that your child could benefit from speech therapy, please contact us:


Email us at

Call or text us at 501-514-3722 with any questions.

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