The Health Visitor has told you not to worry, that she might be a little bit behind but she will catch up in a few months. So you wait…and wait but you still feel like her language is not developing as quickly as other children. Her speech is not as clear as others at nursery and she is not progressing as fast as her older sister.
Sound at all familiar? If the answer is yes, there are a couple of things I would recommend you try to fast track a referral to a Speech Therapist
Get a hearing test.
If your child cannot hear it – then they won’t be able to say it. Nearly 80% of children under the age of 8 will suffer with glue ear which can affect their hearing and access to speech sounds. It is always worth getting this checked out before doing anything else.
Get your facts straight.
The more you know about child development, the more you will understand about your child’s difficulties. Often, the more you find out about your child’s delay, the less concerns you will have.
But don’t take my word for it, take a look at the Talking Point website and the Cochlear’s Integrated Scales of Development to get an idea of where your child is up to. It may surprise you, what is ‘typical’ for a child at 2 years.
Let me explain, if you go to your GP and say, her speech doesn’t sound like the others at nursery this doesn’t give the doctor enough information about what’s going on and whether to refer to a Speech therapist or not.
if you say:
She isn’t using any functional words to request and she is playing on her own agenda or
She seems to be replacing all of her initial consonants with a ‘t’ or a ‘d’
This gives the Doctor much more information to go on. And a more specific reason to give you a referral to a Speech therapist.
Think about it, if you are vague about what the problem actually is, it’s difficult for the health visitor or doctor to know what you are concerned about.
Vitally important, last and final point:
Be the expert.
You may have a ‘gut feeling’ but you will get a lot further into the referral process if you have facts and examples to show to your Health visitor, GP and paediatrician to back-up your concerns.
Demonstrate your child’s knowledge and skills and track their progress on this ‘talking point chart’
Have videos demonstrating behaviour in situations other than the GPs office. Show the Doctor what they are like at home; in a crowd or at nursery.
Gather as much information as you can from nursery staff or their childminder. Ask them to write a note or short letter to support your concerns.
It is a shame we have to go to such lengths as parents to get an NHS referral to Speech and Language Therapy. But, honestly, it is worth doing if you are concerned.
If you don’t want to wait, you can call me at Mable or sign up for a free consultation when we Launch in October – I will be happy to talk things through and advise on assessment and therapy options.
For all of you trying to get a referral to a Speech Therapist I hope this is useful! – Let me know how it goes