Children are generally very active and intelligent but there may be instances where they face difficulties in understanding the spoken language and speaking in a congruent fashion.
As a fact, speech and language detection problems are among those common developmental delays that any child might be going through. It’s important to note here that this phenomenon necessarily has nothing to do with a child’s IQ. However, since language and speech related problems might affect the child’s social life as well as academic progress, it is best to intervene as early as possible. In fact, you would be happy to know that with early intervention, the child can overcome these difficulties completely and continue to do well in every sphere.
How Early Must You Intervene?
As a parent, you might wonder how early you can start?
Well, there is no starting limit or age for that. The moment you realize that your child is facing difficulty in grasping what you are speaking and is unable to respond or react in well-formed language, it is good to start intervening.
According to the Listening and Spoken Language Knowledge Centre, a child’s brain is best programmed to learn fundamental language skills during the first six years of life, the first three years being the most critical. After the age of six, acquiring language and speech skills might be difficult.
It is understandable if you feel that your child is too young to be interrupted in his/her normal course of development. However, ideally, the earlier he/she is interrupted, the smoother his/her future will be.
You could seek early professional intervention services or engage in social skills and language understanding enhancing activities right at home. However, what you pick should be determined by the stage of development your child is going through.
Benefits of Early Intervention
Whichever way you choose to intervene, here is why early intervention is so important to resolve a child’s speech and language delays:
Strengthen the Neural Circuits
The neural circuits in a child’s brain are responsible for building the foundation for learning and behavior. Now, these circuits are most flexible or technically ‘plastic’ during the first 3 years of a child’s life.
As such, they tend to get increasingly difficult to alter as your child turns 6 years of age and more. So, when you intervene early, you make it easier for the child’s brain to process the information, absorb and retain it better. When the same thing is done at a later date, it takes more time for the child to overcome the problem.
Stress on Positivity
Children should get a protective environment at home during the very early years of their life. As he or she grows up and socializes in school and among peers, some negative experiences are bound to happen over time.
Early intervention, therefore, implies helping your child at a time when he or she can have only positivity all around. At this time, forming stable relationships in a supportive environment works well towards addressing his or her speech and language-related difficulties. Positivity strengthens the child’s brain and takes him or her a step higher towards lifelong well being and success.
Fosters Social and Emotional Development
Parents are often worried about their child not socializing as actively as peers their age. However, the problem in many situations is deeply rooted in the language difficulties some children face.
With early intervention on your part, you can completely avoid such a scenario from arising in the future. If the speech and language-related difficulties are addressed early on, the child can form emotional and social bonds with ease by the time he or she is mature enough for that. This way, the earlier you intervene, the more established is his or her social and emotional development in future.
Saves Time and Cost While Promising Better Outcome
Intervening early can allow you to solve your child’s language development delays with some basic steps. However, if you engage in it later, you might have to devote more time. Moreover, seeking professional services can lead to higher costs as well.
You might be absolutely ready and prepared to invest as much time and money needed towards your child’s development. However, the most important factor is that early intervention leads to better outcome. That’s because the younger your little one is, the more flexible he or she is in adapting what you say or instruct. Alternatively, as he or she grows up and is already burdened with studies and co-curricular activities, dealing with the additional speech and language-enhancing activities seem to be overwhelming for the small brain.
Speech and language are integral parts of successful learning for a child. When they receive early intervention, their communication abilities, health, cognitive, social and emotional development improves to a significant extent.