Speech and Language Development (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
During routine well-child visits, the doctor uses various methods to test your child's development. You'll often answer questions about whether your child has reached milestones for his or her age. And the doctor will use your comments to assess your child's speech and language development. If your child is suspected of having a speech or language delay, the doctor will refer your child to a speech-language pathologist to have specific tests that measure nonverbal intelligence, language skills, and vocabulary.
Hearing problems can be an important cause of speech and language delays in children. For this reason, hearing tests are an essential part of any suspected speech and language developmental delay. Hearing problems that are caught and treated within 6 months after birth may help prevent some developmental problems, including those related to speech and language development.2
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all newborns be screened for hearing loss.3 Most newborns in the U.S. are screened for hearing loss before leaving the hospital. Call your doctor if at any time you think your child may have a hearing problem. Even if the newborn test did not show hearing loss, hearing problems could arise.
When To Call a Doctor
Call your doctor any time you or another caregiver has concerns about your child's speech and language development. Be aware of red flags that point to a possible developmental delay, such as when your child does not make sounds that are expected for his or her age.
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and ask questions about your child's medical history. This information can help your doctor identify developmental patterns and assess whether any other conditions, such as hearing loss, are interfering with development.
Your doctor may also recommend other tests to:
Who to see
The following health professionals can diagnose speech and language problems and may work with other health professionals to treat them:
Speech-language pathologists treat children with speech and language delays.
Other professionals may be involved in the care of children with speech and language delays:
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