Absolutely, and here’s why!
Speech and language skills don’t just magically appear once kids start school. They begin way earlier, in infancy. Establishing strong language abilities during the toddler years sets the groundwork for excellent communication and literacy skills in school.
Wondering how speech therapy can make a difference for your little one? Here are some key benefits:
1. Nonverbal Communication
Even before your toddler starts speaking, they’re communicating. This early stage includes gestures, facial expressions, and simple sounds. With speech therapy, toddlers can sharpen these fundamental communication tools. Other skills in this category include:
- Joint attention
- Turn taking
- Social interest in others (Social Interaction)
- Imitation of gestures and actions
- Following directions
Strengthening these areas can shape young children into effective communicators.
2. Cognitive Development and Play
The toddler brain is a hub of rapid growth and activity. Their cognitive abilities influence daily life and activities. And guess what? Strong communication skills are central to boosting cognitive function. Through play and daily routines, speech therapists can enhance these cognitive abilities.
3. Language and Early Communication Skills
Language is split into two segments:
- Receptive Language: How we process and understand words.
- Expressive Language: How we use words and sounds to express ourselves.
The need for effective communication is essential for every human. Imagine the frustration a child feels when they can’t convey their feelings or needs. This is where speech therapists step in!
4. Speech Clarity and Articulation
Speech is all about how toddlers pronounce words and express themselves. Ideally, those close to a 2-year-old, like family and friends, should understand their speech. In therapy, they might work on early sounds such as /p/, /b/, /m/, /w/, and so on.
5. Feeding Skills
Did you know? Speech therapists aren’t just about words. They also assist with feeding therapy. Whether it’s issues with eating, drinking, or a reluctance to try new foods, speech therapists can help.
About the Author:
I’m Anuradha, a speech-language therapist from the Wellness Hub in Hyderabad. I earned my BASLP from the Madras ENT Research Foundation and have been working passionately in this field for over seven years. I’ve witnessed firsthand the positive impact of early intervention through speech therapy for toddlers.