Do I need a referral?

No, but many individuals are referred.

When is the best time to attend?

The earlier the better and when you have a concern.

Doesn’t most children’s speech get better with time?

For some this may be the case but for others it does not. Difficulty communicating with young children can lead to frustration, anxiety, poor interaction with others, withdrawal and eventually may lead to literacy and learning problems at school.

Is stuttering normal?

Many children between 2 and 4 years of age often pass through a period of normal “disfluency” often repeating words perhaps 2-3 times without any great effort (eg, “Mum, can can I have a drink and and an ice-cream?”). However many other children display other types of stuttering behaviour, such as repetition of parts of words (eg “c-c-c-can”) or elongations of sounds (eg “ssssssome), facial grimacing, eye blinking, frustration.

Conclusion: Seek an opinion early.

Do poor speech and language skills mean poor reading skills?

There is certainly a connection between literacy development and speech/language development. Good reading skills are helped enormously by good speech / language skills.

Conclusion: Read lots of stories together with your child from the earliest of ages.

Should I correct my child’s speech errors?

Provide good speech models from time to time, especially after your child makes some sound/language “errors”. Say the correct word/sentence a few times after your child but don’t necessarily ask your child to repeat it back. Be careful not to do too much of this or your child may get upset.