Speech Therapy for Young Children: When and Why It’s Needed


Speech therapy in young children can help in improving their communication and language skills. Regardless of what is affecting a child’s ability to communicate or speak properly, speech therapy can help in solving the child’s problems and improving his or her overall quality of life.

What is Speech Therapy?

Speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of various disorders related to speech, language, and communication.

Speech therapy can help in improving an individual’s ability to talk and use other types of language skills. It helps a person express his or her thoughts better and understand what other people are saying. It also helps in improving skills like the ability to solve various problems and memory.

When Does a Child Need Speech Therapy?

A child may require speech therapy when the child shows one or more of the following signs:

  • The child has not said his or her first word by 15 months of age.
  • The child is unable to put words together by two years of age.
  • The child doesn’t understand the meaning of simple words easily.
  • The child is having a difficult time playing with other children due to language problems.

A speech therapist will assess the child thoroughly and let the parent know if speech therapy is needed for the child.

Why is Speech Therapy Needed?

Speech therapy is needed in children who have trouble articulating different word sounds, cluttering or stuttering, resonance disorders due to an obstruction in the oral or nasal cavities, expressive or receptive language disorder, aphasia (difficulty in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding language), dysarthria (slow or slurred speech), or cognitive-communication disorders usually require speech therapy.

Speech therapy is needed to help children overcome the above problems, improve their daily communication and language problems, improve independence, increase self-confidence, and lead a better quality of life.

How does Speech Therapy Work for Children?

The speech therapy sessions for children need to be fun and engaging. It can help in improving the child’s communication and language skills in the following ways:

  • Boosting language development skills by playing and talking with the child with the help of books, images, or objects.
  • Repetition exercises can help improve the child’s pronunciation by using flashcards or standing in front of the mirror and pronouncing the words repeatedly.
  • Different types of lips, jaw, and tongue exercises are taught to strengthen the muscles surrounding the mouth and improve speech.
  • Feeding and swallowing therapy is provided to help the child adapt to different food textures and improve the child’s oral awareness.

What do Speech Therapists Do?

Speech therapists are qualified medical professionals who provide different types of speech therapy methods to help overcome speaking disorders. They can also help with problems related to language, writing, and auditory processing.

In the first therapy session, the speech therapist will get an understanding of the child’s exact speech and language problem and whether it is related to fluency, articulation, resonance, or oral feeding problems. A combination of speech therapy exercises is then used in subsequent therapy sessions to help improve the child’s communication abilities.

What Age is Best for Speech Therapy?

Any person having problems with speech or language skills can undergo speech therapy, regardless of his or her age. No age is considered to be the most correct or best to get help, and anyone having a communication disorder can benefit from speech therapy. However, starting therapy at an early age can have several benefits.

Dr. Sonam Kothari, Consultant Pediatric Neurologist and Behavior Analyst at Butterfly Learnings, says “Starting speech therapy for children at an early age ensures maximum success and improved treatment outcomes.”

How Long Does Speech Therapy Take?

Every individual’s needs are different. While some speech disorders tend to improve with age, other disorders may need years of speech therapy. If an underlying medical condition has caused the speech disorder in an individual, his or her speech and language skills will show improvement with recovery from the medical condition.

How long a person will need to take speech therapy sessions will depend on the following factors:

  • Age
  • Type of speech disorder present
  • The severity of communication problems
  • The need to recover from underlying medical conditions
  • How regularly does the person attend speech therapy sessions

What Are the Speech Therapy Benefits?

The various benefits of speech therapy are:

  • Increased independence
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Getting the child school-ready
  • Increased ability to express ideas, feelings, and thoughts
  • Improved vocal quality
  • Improved swallowing function
  • Early language skills
  • Improved overall quality of life

Some Speech Therapy Tips for Parents

Apart from the sessions provided by the speech therapist, the following speech therapy tips for parents can help in reinforcing good language skills and creating a good learning environment at home:

  • Praise your child for small improvements and achievements
  • Minimise the background noises when the child is practising speech therapy sessions or studying
  • Be patient with the child and allow sufficient time for the child to articulate what he or she wants to say
  • Practise sound articulations that the child may find difficult to pronounce, like ’sh’ or ‘f’
  • Read out the child’s favourite book loudly and encourage the child to read
  • Encourage the child to use straws when drinking liquids to help in muscle strength development, which can help in clearer speech

How to Choose the Right Speech Therapy Centre for Your Children

You should take into account a few important factors to choose the right speech therapy centre and speech therapist for your child. Choose a speech therapy centre that has the following facilities:

  • Accessible therapy centre
  • Reputed therapy centre
  • Qualified, experienced, and compassionate speech therapist
  • Child-friendly and safe environment
  • Encourages and supports the participation of parents in the child’s therapy


Speech therapy can help in treating various types of speech and language delays and disorders in your child. Early intervention can help in improving your child’s communication and boost confidence.

It must be remembered that speech therapy takes effort, time, and practice before it can show the desired results. It is important to stay patient and encourage your child while undergoing speech therapy.

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