Benefits of Early Intervention For Speech and Language Delays

Benefits of Early Intervention For Speech and Language Delays

Speech and Language delays in children are the first sign of developmental problems. Early Intervention is crucial in this stage to address and prevent issues that may hinder the child’s development. Speech and language delays are more difficult to cure over time – earlier treatment is always better.


Here are some of the benefits of Early Intervention for speech and language delays in children:


  1. For children to develop the communication skills necessary for future success in their academic and personal lives

Language is essential for communication. We use it in expressing our thoughts and feelings. Expressive language decrease frustration and negative behaviours thus improve our ability to socialize. Children’s speech and language skills become more ingrained and habitual over time. Early intervention can help to set the stage for a child’s communication abilities during their emerging literacy years for reading, writing and academic success.


  1. Communicative Success Increases Self-Esteem

Early Intervention can help to improve child’s ability to communicate, interact with others, and improve their social skills and emotional development. It helps to naturally increase their self-esteem and become more effective and confident communicator. Strong communication skills help to express basic wants and needs, and form relationships with family and peers.


  1. Learning of language influences how the brain develops

Development and learning of speech and language skills influences how the brain develops. The first three years of life is a critical period of speech and language development for children. The left and right hemisphere of the brain are both involved in language production and comprehension.  During this stage, the brain is “sponge-like” making it a perfect time to learn communicative skills. Early intervention may take advantage of this period for normal brain development.


  1. Chance of catching up with their peers prior to starting school

Early intervention provide treatment and eliminate as many disorders as possible. Vocabulary explosion at about 18 months of age for instance allows the children to learn words at a much faster rate. This should be taken advantage to close any gaps and allow the child to catch up with their peers.   For example, with therapy, articulation delay can be quickly eliminated before child starts his/ her schooling journey.


Speech skills build on one another in a sequential order, like a staircase. Child does not advance each ‘stair’ without accomplishing the pre-requisites and the ones prior. Early Intervention helps to start building child’s speech skill in a sequential order as soon as possible, while laying down a steady and well-built foundation


  1. Speech-Language Abilities Correlate to Educational Success

Strong speech and language skills can be tied to educational success. Early phonemic awareness skills or the ability to recognise speech sounds directly correlates to early reading success (e.g., being able to identify what sounds make up words for spelling) As children learn to map these sounds on printed letters, it helps them with their emerging reading and writing skills.


According to a 1997 study on kindergarten students, more than 7% of them suffer from a specific language impairment (inability to form or understand language).A 15-year follow-study showed that 52% of these students later suffered from other learning disabilities and exhibited poor academic performance.


Typical Speech and Language Development


To help you assess your child’s speech-language development, here are the typical development corresponding to their age.


3-6 Months – babbles and makes various sounds

– turns head towards sound

– months toys

– first smile

– eye contact should be consistent by 6 months

6-9 Months – waves ‘bye-bye’

– begins to babble repeated sounds like, ‘mama’, ‘dada’ or ‘baba’

– responds to simple actives like ‘peek-a-boo’

9-12 Months – gives objects upon request

– says ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ meaningfully

– begins imitating some animal or environmental sounds

– begins to understand the word ‘no’

– says first meaningful word

– responds to name

– seeks attention from others

– joint attention (attention bond between the caregiver and the child) should emerge around 9 months

12-18 Months – uses toys/ objects appropriately (toy phone, toy car etc.)

– follows 1 step directions (e.g., put your hands over your eyes)

– sits and attends to a book

– uses some words independently

– identifies body parts

– can play in a task with another person for 1-2 minutes

– demonstrates functional play, and using 2 objects together in play

18-24 Months – points to common objects

– understands at least 50 words

– asks for ‘more’ (understanding and application)

– imitates words readily

– uses at least 5-10 words spontaneously

2 Years Old – follows 2 step directions

– asks for help or assistance

– uses 2 word phrases

– plays independently and watches other children

3 Years Old – identifies parts of an object (e.g., wheels on the car)

– relays daily experiences

– identifies complex body parts (e.g. wrist, knee, ankle, eyebrow)

– speaks in sentences

– speech is 80% intelligible

4 Years Old – answers ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’

– plays appropriately with other kids

– understands concepts like ‘long’ and ‘short’, and other descriptive words


If you notice any difference on your child’s speech and language development, you may consult related professionals.