What is the main role of a speech therapist?
Speech therapist serve a wide range of clients, ranging from kids to elderly. The most popular and well-known service is training for children's language, pronunciation and social issues.
When do I need to arrange for my child to see a speech therapist?
Usually parents will arrange kids to see a therapist for worry of their language development and pronunciation problem, but when is the most suitable time for such a referral? In general, we have the following considerations:
A) Language development:
Weak communication skill when compared to peers (refer to the following indicators):
One and half year old or above: 10 or more words
Two and a half years old or above: know how to use two words, such as "drinking water"
Three years old or above: can organize simple sentences and use adjectives, such as "I want a red ball"
Four years old or above: capable of describing things happened in daily activities
Five years old or above: can tell stories
B) Social communication skills:
Don't want to make eye contact with other people;
Lack of response to other people's words;
Difficult maintain the topic with others;
Narrow interest, difficult to join activities in group;
Don't know how to say something appropriate in different social setting;
Don't know how to respond to other’s speech
How does the speech therapist's assessment work?
Many times, clients seeing speech therapist are relatively small kids, may be have difficulty focusing on different tasks. Speech therapists will firstly observe the performance of children in games and in conservations.
When a child has established a relationship with a speech therapist, the speech therapist can conduct some quantitative evaluation tests for the child to ascertain his language development age.
If children are slow to speak, how often do they have to undergo training?
Generally speaking, I would encourage children to do training once a week. Parents need to practice the skill learnt during sessions with kids at home to get the best results.
Is there any difference between group training and individual training?
For younger kids, individual training is preferred. For older kids, they might also need group training to help improve their social communication skill.
Does the use of different languages in the family affect children's language development?
Living in Hong Kong, a bilingual or even tri-lingual city, it's really hard to avoid using different languages in our homes. If children's language skills are normal, basically I would suggest that we can continue to teach them two or three languages, but to avoid confusing them, we should speak only one language at a time.
If a child's development has already shown symptoms of delay, I would propose parents teaching their child the language that they are interested in the most.