‘FLAGGING’ COMMUNICATION CONCERNS EARLY
Parents, especially new parents, can find it difficult to know if and when their child is reaching developmental milestones.
Parents who haven’t spent a lot of time with other children may have fewer experiences/references against which to compare their own child’s development.
Furthermore, comparison can be fraught. Every child is unique. Factors such as gender, culture, different languages, personality, ability and family/friends can all influence how a child communicates, both verbally and non-verbally, making it even more difficult to know what is/isn’t ‘typical’ or ‘just a phase’.
As such, parents often rely on the expertise/advice of professionals, such as Early Childhood Educators, who are experienced in working with different children.
Ensuring a child is able to communicate their needs and express their ideas effectively is both influenced by and the responsibility of all those who care for them. So too is seeking appropriate interventions, as soon as possible, to ensure the best possible outcome for the child.
People working with children are often expected to provide ‘the answer’ in so many different areas of childhood development, that it can feel quite overwhelming. This can be compounded by a parent’s anxiety or frustration regarding behaviours of concern that they are unable to ‘fix’.
However, it is unrealistic to expect either parents or Early Childhood Educators to be ‘experts. It is more helpful to support parents to better identify potential ‘red flags’, when interventions may be required and where these interventions can be sought.
When it is unclear if a child is experiencing communication issues, a qualified Speech Pathologist can often provide a clear diagnosis, advise, provide a treatment path and potentially rule out other conditions.
Speech Pathologists not only support children to build their communication skills; they can also support parents and carers by teaching them how to guide the child through this process. Maintaining continuity of a child’s care can greatly improve their long-term outcomes and make the lives of parents and carers much easier.
There are many signs and symptoms that may or may not point to a variety of communication issues - and these can vary depending on the child’s age - which can be very confusing. However, basic red flags to look out for - at any age - include:
- Significant loss of skills
- Lack of response to sound or visual stimulus
- Poor interaction with others
- Lack of/limited eye contact
- Differences in strength/movement/tone between the left and right side
- Very low (floppy) or high (stiff/tense) tone that affects the motor skills.
Communication issues can be caused by a variety of conditions such as:
- Developmental delay
- Intellectual disabilities
- Learning disabilities
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
- Brain injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Hearing loss.
If a child has been diagnosed with (or is suspected to have) one of these conditions, it is particularly important to look out for any red flags and act NOW.
It is always ‘better to be safe than sorry’ than to ‘wait and see’!
If you are caring for a child you suspect may be experiencing communication issues, Artius Health’s caring and experienced Speech Pathologists are here to help, from diagnosis through to treatment.
We provide the following services:
- Screening onsite at child care centres/schools (min numbers apply)
- Ongoing treatment at our clinics or Australia-wide via Telehealth
- Training to spot the ‘red flags’ onsite at child care centres/schools
- Education for parents during the child’s sessions at our clinics/via Telehealth.
Our clinics are located in the Gold Coast (Helensvale), Ipswich and Sunshine Coast (Maroochydore) regions.
Due to recent expansion, we currently have no waitlist on Speech Pathology appointments.
NDIS participants are very welcome and we can assist clients across the lifespan.
To make an appointment or for all enquiries please phone 1300 764 003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.