There are several things that a primary healthcare professional does to examine a child’s development, in addition to playing/interacting with the child. Parents are asked questions about broad areas of development. These areas are usually communication, thinking/problem-solving, social skills, and movement/co-ordination of small and large parts of the body. Asking about these areas is part of a developmental “screen”: A series of questions in a document that was carefully developed using known minimum developmental milestones for a specific age group. This document is known to be very good at telling you whether or not your child needs a closer look at a specific developmental domain. One example is the Nippissing District Development Screen. Another is the Ages & Stages Questionnaire.
Parent intuition is just as good at picking up that something isn’t quite right. Child development researchers have known something interesting for a long time: A parent’s intuition is very accurate in screening for delays in his or her child’s development when there really is a delay. Parent intuition is also accurate in identifying when there is nothing wrong at all. Of course, this may seem like common sense. But we can’t be sure it’s true until it has been confirmed for a large number of people…and it has been. (Please contact us if you want the research references for this information). Parents have been shown to be especially sensitive to detecting problems with their kids’ language expression and understanding. If your intuition about language development is nagging you, check out our interactive milestones slide-ruler: it was developed using minimum developmental expectations for each age-group.
There is a BUT, however: Although parents have been shown to have excellent Spidey Sense, they may not know exactly what the problem is, its causes, or right steps to take to help their children improve. That’s where your Speech-Language Pathologist comes in really handy. So, if you have a concern with your child’s speech and/or language development, don’t risk the “wait & see” approach, regardless of who suggested it. Whether it is a toddler who has very few sounds or words, a preschooler whose sentences aren’t as complex as other toddlers’, or a school-aged child who is difficult to understand, we can help.