4 Yr Old Pseech Problem

Updated on February 16, 2015
P.W. asks from Cincinnati, OH
17 answers

My 4 yr old has difficulty w/speech. He is aware of it and is very frustrated, he stated he knows he can't talk well.
the pediciatrician hasn't recommedted anthing to date, but i'm afraid the lack of attention to this problem is going
to escalate more once he begins kindergardent next year.

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answers from Joplin on

See if the school district has an ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) program. They will get speech therapy as part of the program. My grandson and granddaughter attended an ECSE program and it helped them tremendously. One is in Kindergarten and one is in 2nd grade and neither has speech therapy any longer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

is he able to convey his wants and needs? is it just certain sounds he cannot say (normal at age 4) What sounds can he not say? or is it endings or beginnings of words that he drops?
or is it a difficulty in putting words together, or a difficulty with multi syllable words?

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answers from Chicago on

My two oldest both needed speech therapy. I had to be proactive with each of them because our pediatrician at the time had a very laid back philosophy and didn't seemed concerned. I contacted the school district and had them evaluated and they both qualified. They were put on an IEP and went to therapy at a local elementary school. It was a 20 minute session 1-2 times per week. It made all the difference in the world. My daughter needed it for just one year, but my son needed it for several. Once he got into kindergarten, the speech therapist at our school would pull him out of class for 30 minutes a week. He was done with it at the end of kindergarten.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Have him evaluated by your school district. He can be placed in a preschool setting, evaluated, and then recieve supports for speech delay. Do this now.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

Call the early intervention program in your state. You know your child so much better than the pediatrician. You do NOT need a referral for this.


Don't delay, as you are right these things are easier to take care of sooner than later and there are sometimes long waiting periods to get assessed by the program. Once he begins kindergarten, there will be different program, but it would be good to having him assessed now and in early intervention as the transition to speech therapy in the schools is quicker and easier.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Oh my goodness. In most states kids with problems like this can start regular school the day they turn 3!

You need to take care of this tomorrow. Call your local school district and find out about early enrollment. They would have caught this if your child had started Pre-K this year. They help with all the speech therapy and stuff. Plus your insurance should be able to help you find which professional evaluation facilities you are able to take your son to.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Go to your local county's early intervention program. 4 is an odd year, sometimes they'll evaluate the child at the early intervention center or sometimes they'll punt it to the school district. Your pediatrician should know more, or the school.

What you also want to find out is if he is fine but just not achieving the same sounds as early as peers? My DD is 6 and still struggles with th. But some sounds are not really "expected" til children are 8 years old, so she is on the speech pathologist's "watch list". If a child is understandable, but substitutes sounds, he may be within norms, even if he isn't as clear as other kids. You really need a qualified evaluator to determine this. In the meantime, try to focus on what he CAN do and say and try to help him feel confident speaking. One of my relatives never got the speech therapy he needed and never felt confident talking, and to this day he says as little as possible. Please don't let that be your son.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Contact your school district. It's too late for early intervention, BUT there is pre-school available if the assessment says help is needed. Have the district asses and ask for services/support. Don't wait. My son received speech therapy from the age of 4-7 through the school. At 4, it was preschool, and he was bussed from home/daycare to school and back.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You need to get a speech and language evaluation done. Tell the ped this and don't take no for an answer. You have health insurance, right? Get the ped to have his or her office qualify you for the evaluation. The insurance should pay for it (you might have to use your deductible - I'm not sure.)

You should get ahead of the curve on this now while you can. The longer you wait to work on speech, the harder it is to fix it. A copy of the evaluation can be given to the school so that you can get an IEP for speech services. However, you need help NOW.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Call your local school district. They begin services at age 3. If you call them and express your concern, they will set up a time with you for him to come in and be evaluated. He may or may not need services, but there is no harm in having him evaluated by an SLP (Speech Language Pathologist). An SLP should be able to provide excellent feedback as to what he is doing, whether or not this is age appropriate (and it very well could be), what kinds of things you can do at home to help him and whether or not speech therapy is recommended.

You can also check with your health insurance. We have an HMO, so of course our insurance wanted a referral from our pediatrician. Our son has been receiving speech services privately since he was 2 1/2, though he was first evaluated when he was 18 months. He has been receiving services at school since he first qualified at age 3, but we have taken him to the private therapist during the summer.

You can call Early Intervention, but as far as I know they do not offer services once the child turns 3 years old.

I would definitely not recommend you wait. There is nothing to lose by calling the school district and asking for an evaluation. By law, they must evaluate him per your request. It is possible that whatever sounds he needs to work on will work themselves out over time, there is nothing to be gained by waiting and just not even having an evaluation.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

You need to tell your pediatrician that you are concerned and you would like an evaluation by a speech pathologist to see if your son qualifies for therapy. One of my sons did a couple years of speech therapy and my daughter had been doing it for just under a year so far. I started them right after their 4th birthdays because I figured by that time they should be able to speak most words clearly. It's a great thing and they will continue it in school as well! There's even speech therapy based preschools. My son went to the one near us and now my daughter goes there as well. It's wonderful!



answers from Jacksonville on

He's probably too old for EI. You may want to call and ask. In Florida, once they are too old for EI, testing is done by the school district. You can also check with your insurance and take him to a private therapist.

When to start therapy could be a matter of what his issue with speech is.My 3 year old has problems enunciating. Our pediatrician suggested we wait a year and see if it corrects itself. If not he will go to speech then. Her reasoning for waiting is that 3 year olds often can't follow directions well enough for him to get enough benefit from it. My older son started speech at 18 months for other reasons.



answers from Seattle on

My son needed speech therapy. He had an 'adorable' lisp and couldn't pronounce "R"s correctly - in the parents eyes only though.

He received help in a public school, in the 4th grade. It was almost too late to correct it. But he worked exceptionally hard and his diligence paid off and he no longer has any issues.

He had been enrolled in a private Christian school where there were no services and they did not watch for such issues. I am forever grateful that we left that school, and transferred to a public school, where teachers are trained to observe and make recommendations.

My hunch is that you will pay out of pocket for this service, when you can wait a few months and he can take group and individual speech therapy lessons in a public school. Having peers around for my son was critical for his success, as they motivated each other to do better. He really enjoyed the social time with his group of speech therapy buds.

Again, personally, I recommend you wait, read lots, talk and discuss everything that pops up and ask the teacher for guidance come the fall. But don't ask the first day, give the KG teacher a couple of weeks to get to know everyone, then bring it up and ask her to observe and start the process.

4 is young and there is plenty of time to catch up. GL!



answers from Chicago on

Have you asked the ped about it? One of my girls would throw all consanants forward: dog was dawd, cat was tat, tandaroo, etc. The ped saw she had large tonsils. I originally took her in because I noticed sleep apnea. We had a consult with ENT. He said she could grow into her tonsils but with the apnea, we decided to remove tonsils and adnoids. Snoring and apnea stopped. Within a few months, she was talking properly. Her preschool teacher was amazed at how quickly she changed the way she pronounced letters. We did have a concult with a speech therapist who told me that I could just do things at home with her.

If you have insurance that will let you, see if you can see a speech therapist consultation. Sometimes they will pay the first one complete. Otherwise, depending on his birthday, some states will do an initial consult for a 4 yr old.



answers from Dallas on

If you call your pediatrician and request a referral to a speech therapist for an evaluation they will give it to you. I would be surprised if they don't just give you a referral over the phone.

Then make and appointment and have him evaluated to see if he needs speech therapy. It couldn't hurt and has the potential to help quite a bit.

Good luck!


answers from Reading on

My son went through two rounds of speech therapy - one at age 2 and one this past summer at age 10. Both very fun and helpful for him. Most public schools will provide speech therapy if the disorder impacts learning. In my son's case, it did not. I would recommend calling his future school first to see what they do - our district provides it as early as age three to future students.



answers from Chicago on

The vast majority of 4 year olds still struggle with 70% of the sounds. By 6, it self-corrects.

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