There are many reasons why early intervention gives a child the best chance of future success and this article will help to explore some of these reasons and develop a cogent argument for early therapeutic intervention.
All too often, well meaning professionals advise parents that their child is too young to seek professional help or that all will come right and a number of cases are cited where children spoke late and went on to a achieve great things. (Einstein is one of the favourites!)
The hard truth is that many children who talk late, have unintelligible speech or poor language and communication skills, do not develop them later and are at great risk of academic failure and the development of anti-social behaviour. Children with speech-language delay often present with aggressive and difficult behaviour. This is partly because they experience high levels of frustration due to their inability to communicate but it can also be caused by a lack of understanding as a result of poor receptive language. Children with anti-social behaviour are often excluded by the peer group and forced to play on their own and they do not learn how to interact socially in an appropriate manner. One of the biggest fall outs of being excluded from the group is that the child’s self esteem plummets and s/he becomes more and more introverted and less willing to try. Coupled to this may be a sensory dysfunction which does not allow normal socialization to develop, with disastrous effects. Both sensory integration and speech and language need to be developed in order that long term ill effects do not prevail.
Quiet toddlers or toddlers who have a limited repertoire of sound are often those children who do not know how to produce consistent accurate speech sounds. By treating them early, the therapist is able is able to work on and treat the speech sound system without the cascading and devastating effect of this on the development of expressive language and academic achievement.
– Barbara Bennett (Sp & H Th) WITS. HDE (Post Graduate)( Pre primary)