What’s the best age to start Speech Pathology intervention?

This is often a question parents ask themselves and to me, when they call to enquire as to whether it is appropriate for their child to have a Speech Pathology assessment. Often parents wonder if their child is too young.

The answer is, it depends on the concern!

So for a parent who has a 2 year old , and the only concern is a lisp (substituting a “s” or “z” sound with a “th” e.g. “sun”—> “thun”); then the answer is, yes, it is too early to start intervention; give it another couple of years. However, in the case that the child is 2 years old and is not speaking yet, or does not have enough single words in their vocabulary that they can start to make little sentences e.g. “more milk” or “I want water” – then the answer is, get the ball rolling! Have them assessed—understand their current level of language development, and discover how you can stimulate their language development during therapy sessions.

With regards to clear pronunciation of speech sounds; different sounds are expected to develop at different ages; so it is always best to check in with a Speech Pathologist if you are unsure.

In the case that an area of communication has been identified as requiring support, the sooner you can start therapy the better.

Remember that strong speech and oral language skills are required in order for children to successfully learn how to read, spell and write!

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Mother of three young children, and senior level Speech & Language Pathologist. Sonia founded a successful Sydney based private practice in 2006. She regularly presents community seminars, writes articles for parent magazines and does guest speaker gigs on community radio. Sonia enjoys writing, and hopes one day to be a published children's picture book author too!

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