Who Needs Speech Therapy?

Behaviors that should trigger an SLP referral

Difficulty functioning independently due to:

  • unresponsiveness to all external stimuli
  • may open eyes, suck, and/or yawn
  • does not attend to others
  • no purposeful speech
  • extremely impaired attention and memory with impulsivity
  • extremely limited communication:
  • difficulty responding to and/or saying name
  • difficulty expressing basic needs to others using simple words and/or gestures (i.e., yes/no, head nod)
  • difficulty saying greetings (i.e., “hi” and “bye”) on own
  • difficulty remembering spouse/caregiver’s name
  • difficulty counting to 10
  • becomes agitated when needs are not met
  • limited eye contact
  • limited social behaviors (i.e., expressions of courtesy and facial expressions)
  • very limited communication:
  • difficulty paying attention while speaking (i.e., does not complete sentences or take turns
  • speaking during conversation)
  • difficulty responding appropriately to message of other individual (i.e., delayed, perseverative, or off-topic responses, including inappropriate words)
  • limited ability to provide biographical information
  • difficulty understanding abstract information; very concrete responses

Difficulty functioning independently due to:

  • difficulty anticipating consequences of own actions
  • poor organization, with limited problem solving and judgment
  • limited awareness of extent of difficulties; exhibits socially inappropriate behavior
  • difficulty with concepts of time and money
  • difficulty self-disciplining and self-monitoring to follow rules
  • difficulty changing routine or schedule; difficulty learning new rules
  • limited communication:
  • difficulty selecting appropriate words and remembering names
  • limited memory and/or knowledge of current events and/or personal history
  • responses in conversation may be verbose, redundant, or tangential
  • elaborates on information provided from questions, but cannot appropriately change topic, initiate, or end a conversation
  • missing or misunderstanding humor
  • difficulty understanding nonverbal communication (i.e., facial expressions and/or body language)
  • difficulty understanding abstract information

Difficulty managing home or maintaining a job or business due to:

  • difficulty planning and completing necessary daily activities
  • difficulty following directions
  • difficulty comprehending or applying abstract written information
  • difficulty analyzing personal and/or business problems, identifying and applying solutions
  • difficulty assessing own strengths and weaknesses, developing effective plans to improve weaknesses
  • difficulty managing multiple responsibilities simultaneously
  • difficulty managing emotions (especially anxiety, frustration, or anger) related to performance difficulties
  • difficulty making, following, and modifying plans as needed
  • difficulty understanding and managing personal legal or financial matters (i.e., taxes, buying or refinancing a home, etc.)
  • difficulty effectively communicating with colleagues and/or customers, especially initiating effective responses, interpreting combined verbal and nonverbal responses during conversations to determine strategic communication action; modifying responses when feedback indicates it has not been successful

Does Your Child Need Speech Therapy?

Potential Consequences/Impact of Speech Impairment Can Include

  • Difficulty expressing need or routine information intelligibly
  • Difficulty communicating intelligibly in order to function at level of independence expected for age
  • Difficulty expressing feelings intelligibly; may be at risk for frustration or depression
  • Difficulty engaging successfully in social and/or classroom situations that require intelligible speech
  • Difficulty achieving adequate intelligible speech to reach educational potential
  • At risk for personal injury due to difficulty communicating intelligibly about a dangerous situation or calling for help

Behaviors that should trigger an SLP referral

By age 3 years cannot:

  • be understood by family and/or caregivers
  • correctly produce vowels and such sounds as p, b, m, w in words
  • repeat when not understood without becoming frustrated

By age 4 years cannot:

  • be understood by individuals with whom they do not associate regularly
  • be understood by family and/or caregivers
  • correctly produce t, d, k, g, f
  • be asked to repeat without becoming sensitive

By age 5 years cannot:

  • be understood in all situations by most listeners
  • correctly produce most speech sounds
  • be asked to repeat without exhibiting frustration
  • Disturbance in neuromuscular control causes difficulty learning to produce sounds appropriately
    speech is usually slurred; difficulty controlling respiration for speech; abnormal loudness, rhythm, or vocal quality
    exhibits difficulty learning sounds to form words; may sound nasal, strangled and/or breathy
  • exhibits frustration and/or avoidance of speech due to extreme difficulty forming sounds or difficulty being understood