Does my toddler really need speech therapy? Why EI is so important.

Does my toddler really need speech therapy?

by Mary Stanton, M.S., CCC-SLP

I have often been asked how a toddler would benefit from speech therapy at an age when he or she is only first beginning to speak. In fact, early intervention services can be incredibly worthwhile.

Some parents are surprised when a pediatrician or daycare provider suggests speech and language therapy for their young child. They may welcome the extra support from a speech-language pathologist, or they may feel uncomfortable with the idea that such support is necessary.

So how does EI work, exactly? Here are a few principles of early intervention services to highlight how and why early intervention can be so helpful.

Brain Development

Did you know that children under age 3 build connections in their brains at a rate of one million per second? It’s no coincidence that Early Intervention programs are structured to serve children from birth to three years of age. The human brain shows the greatest ability to change and learn in these early years. In other words, children can benefit immensely from early support – and are less likely to need speech and language therapy later as a result.

Family-Therapist Partnership

Early Intervention programs are designed to help parents learn new ways to support their child. Parents work together with a trained speech-language pathologist (or other therapist) to share expertise – the parents know their child better than anyone, and the therapist can suggest ideas to incorporate learning activities into their everyday routines. By combining the family’s relationship with the child with the therapist’s clinical knowledge, early intervention can be very successful.

In-Home Services

Early intervention services are almost always provided in the child’s home environment. This location allows the therapist to make her or his approach as natural and tailored to the family as possible. It also gives the therapist access to toys and materials that the family already has, making it easier for parents (and even siblings!) to continue to practice and play with their child beyond the therapy session.


Toddlers are at an age when their brain can absorb an incredible amount of new information, and early intervention can help make the most of this exciting time in a child’s development.

To get more information about EI services or to schedule a free screening, call the Clubhouse at 773.205.8505 (Chicago) or 630.495.6800 (Downers Grove).  You can also visit the Illinois Early Intervention website

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