When is Speech Therapy Needed?

Speech therapy is a resource designed to help people of all ages with various speech, language, voice, and swallowing disorders. But how do you know when speech therapy is needed? Let’s dive into some of the signs and situations that may warrant a visit to a speech-language pathologist.

  1. Delays in Meeting Speech and Language Milestones: For toddlers and young children, if there are delays in hitting typical speech and language developmental milestones, speech therapy might be needed. These milestones include babbling, making eye contact, responding to their name, using gestures, and later, saying words and sentences (ASHA, n.d.).
  2. Difficulty Articulating Words: If a child or adult consistently struggles with articulating words, speech therapy can help. While it’s normal for young children to make speech errors, if these persist beyond the typical age, it might indicate a speech sound disorder.
  3. Stuttering or Other Fluency Disorders: If an individual frequently repeats sounds, syllables, or words, or has prolonged sounds, it might indicate a fluency disorder like stuttering. Speech therapy can provide strategies to improve fluency and build confidence in speech.
  4. Challenges with Social Communication: Struggling with social aspects of communication, like taking turns in conversation, making and maintaining eye contact, or understanding nonverbal cues, might also suggest a need for speech therapy.
  5. Voice Disorders: If an individual consistently has a hoarse voice, breathy voice, or difficulty modulating volume or pitch, it might indicate a voice disorder. A speech-language pathologist can provide techniques to improve vocal health and quality.
  6. Swallowing/Feeding Disorders: Difficulties with chewing, swallowing, or extreme fussiness with eating in children may suggest a swallowing or feeding disorder. Speech therapy can help address these issues.
  7. Post-Stroke or Neurological Conditions: Adults who’ve experienced a stroke or have neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease might face challenges with speech, language, cognitive-communication, or swallowing. Speech therapy can be an integral part of rehabilitation in such cases.
  8. Accent Modification: While an accent is not a speech or language disorder, some individuals might wish to modify their accent for personal or professional reasons. Speech therapists can provide accent modification services to help.

At Red Deer Speech Therapy, we’re committed to helping individuals communicate with confidence. If you notice any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out. Early intervention is often key in managing speech and language disorders, so it’s never too early—or too late—to seek help.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.). Who Do Speech-Language Pathologists Help? www.asha.org/public/Who-Do-Speech-Language-Pathologists-Help/