What can I expect in early language therapy?

Early language therapy is usually aimed at young children (i.e. infant, toddlers, pre-schoolers) who have difficulty communicating and interacting (e.g. no first words by 12 months of age, unable to verbally answer simple what/where questions at 2 years old). For these children, it is essential that we do not ‘wait and watch’ but we take action to ensure the children receive the extra support they need to make developmental gains.  

What it may look like:  

  1. The speech pathologist is simply watching or playing with your child;  
  1. The speech pathologist spends most of the session talking with you;  
  1. The room turns into a mess of toys (see photo for example)  

What the speech therapist is actually doing:  

To help these children, speech pathologists implement ‘early language intervention’ strategies, which are strongly supported by research evidence and proven to be effective in supporting young children with communication delays.   

Our main goals in these therapy sessions are to:  

  • Train you (and the important adults in your child’s life) to become effective speech and language teachers, by using simple but effective strategies to support your child to reach communication milestones.  We know that parents and other important caregivers spend the most time with their children, which is why we encourage you to use these strategies outside of the clinic (e.g. home, community) on a daily basis.   
  • Demonstrate and show you how to use evidence-based and effective strategies through play and exploration. One of our most important jobs is to make sure you feel confident and comfortable using these strategies, and for you to understand the reason behind the therapy. This is why we might spend lots of time talking to you.   
  • Observe and interact with your child to assess their skills in all areas: language, social and play. We do this by either watching what your child does with particular toys and/or playing with them. This is important to not only look at any progress that has been made, but also show you how to interact and play with your child to help support the development of their communication skills.