We can’t predict how much progress a child will make with therapy, and I would be wary of anyone who guarantees improvements. However, most children do improve with therapy, but how fast and how much they improve depends on a few things:
The first and most important thing needed is a parent/guardian that recognizes his or her child’s needs, has “bought into” the therapy, and becomes actively involved in it (see the previous article on why this is important and how parents help).
A second important variable is the child’s level of language understanding. Children who have problems expression only find better and faster success in therapy. We know this from research data, and it just makes sense that, because INPUT is the gateway to output, nothing is getting in the way of the information being given in therapy. If language understanding is also delayed, then the SLP and parents must work on building those skills either before or at the same time as they work on expression, and this may slow the rate of progress down. The initial SLP assessment helps determine the child’s level of language understanding.
A third crucial variable is the absence or presence of a delay in one or more other areas of development. This we know from developmental research. Having a delay in another area of development is usually associated with challenges in development in general. In these cases, children need more intensive (more frequent and/or longer) support from the SLP and other professionals to make progress in therapy. These professionals can include Developmental Pediatricians, Psychologists, or Occupational Therapists, depending on what other areas of development are affected.
No professional has a crystal ball, regardless of the profession. We only know for sure what variables are associated with improvement or success. We always do the best we can with the tools and information we have to make progress.
If you have a concern with your child’s speech/language development, don’t “wait and see.” Contact us today.