A recent government study found that 20% of preschool children aged between 4-5 years had a speech sound disorder- this is one in five children.
When parents were asked what they would do now that they knew this information, many responded that they would wait until their child started school- that is they would not seek intervention earlier.
What many parents don't realise that a speech sound disorder, left untreated can have serious implications for their child's literacy development and their ongoing learning.
A speech sound disorder can start out as a late talker, or an unintelligible late talker, then can change to become a 4 year old talker who is hard to understand, who then arrives at school with a number of speech sound challenges and develops literacy problems. A very large percentage (up to 70%) of children with literacy problems were once preschoolers with speech sound disorders. This underscores the importance of seeking help early. Waiting until a child gets to school to seek help is too late.
What the study also showed, was that most parents of children who were found to have a speech sound disorder, were actually worried about their child's speech before the diagnosis was confirmed. That means their worries were well founded. So if you are concerned, booking your child for an assessment is an important thing to do.
At Eastside Speech we conduct preschool screenings at many local preschools, to give parents the information they need to act early so they can reduce the risk of their children developing literacy difficulties.
Here are two websites that are very helpful for parents with information and ideas about young children's speech & language development.
www.literacytrust.org.uk/talk to your baby