The 5 W’s of Early Intervention & Language Success

Enrichment Therapies

October 30, 2017

Child sitting on the floor

The 5 W’s of Early Intervention & Language Success By: Sarah Sitzmann, M.A., CCC-SLP

Are you concerned about your child’s speech development? Do you worry that your child is not understanding what you say to them? Let’s take a closer look at the who, what, when, why, and where of early language development. In this blog, I will outline key factors such as who “early intervention” refers to, why it might be beneficial for your child, and where to receive a free screening!


Who is early intervention for?
Early intervention is for children ages birth to five. As a speech-language pathologist, the biggest stigma I hear is that speech-language therapy is only for children who have difficulty producing certain sounds (i.e., difficulty saying /r/); however, that is only one of many reasons a child may come to speech-language therapy.

What areas are covered in speech-language therapy?
The most common reasons for a child under the age of 5 to receive speech-language therapy are:
Expressive Language Impairment– A child who has difficulty using language to express their wants and needs. They may have a lower vocabulary, difficulty using words or combining words, and difficulties with grammar. It is how a child uses language, or what they say.
Receptive Language Impairment– A child who has a deficit with language comprehension. A child may have difficulty listening to and understanding language. This may be evident in difficulty following directions or answering questions appropriately.
Mixed Expressive and Receptive Language Impairment– A child with this impairment has difficulty expressing their wants and needs as well as difficulty understanding what is being said to them or following directions.
Articulation Impairment– Errors with saying certain sounds (i.e., a child may not be able to say the /b/ sound.)

What should my child’s communication look like at what ages?
Are you unsure how much your child should be communicating or understanding at certain ages and milestones? Check out the milestone lists for each age below. In these lists, we have outlined some key language skills that children should be demonstrating by each age. Please keep in mind this list is not exhaustive and if your child is not demonstrating all of the skills on time it does not mean that there is a delay or problem! However, if you feel there is a language concern, consider an evaluation from a speech-language pathologist. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center we are here to help, early intervention is key!

What to expect at:

When How early is too early for speech therapy? NEVER! I wish parents knew that it is NEVER too early for a screening. A parent’s intuition is typically correct. If you have any concerns about your child’s language development take them in for a screening. At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center we offer free screenings for all of our services: speech, language, writing, math, and dyslexia.

Why is early intervention important? Here are my top 3 reasons WHY early intervention is key:

  1. Children ages birth to five have brains that are developing and learning at a fast rate. This is a critical time period for language and communication development to occur. Children learn language through back-and-forth communicative interactions with another person; through words, gestures, or body language. Children who have difficulty with communication do not receive the feedback from their adult language partner that is critical to developing language. Additionally, these language exchanges happen less frequently with a child who is already struggling.

  2. Early language development and reading proficiency are linked. Children who struggle with language skills may also start their academic and social careers at a disadvantage. . Communication leads to social interactions and relationships, which are developing. It is incredibly easy to fall behind as they are entering preschool or elementary school if they aren’t given the extra support they need early in life.

  3. Early language intervention can only HELP! Having extra one-one time with a specialist can only give your child an advantage. If you have concerns about your child’s abilities, contact a speech-language pathologist. Not only will language be addressed, but also pre-literacy skills will help your child be prepared to enter school. Why not give your child the best start possible for academic success?

Early Intervention Success Story One client I saw started speech-language therapy in November 2016 at 18 months old. Her parents brought her to Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center because she only had 1 true word and was having difficulty following directions at home. Evaluation results revealed she was in the fourth percentile for both receptive and expressive language. At her re-evaluation in October 2017, she is now over the 75 percentile in both expressive and receptive language. Her parents brought her in as soon as they recognized that she was struggling. Through both her hard work during individual speech-language therapy sessions, as well as work at home, she is now easily communicating. Her social relationships with family members and peers have also bloomed. Another child that I worked with started speech-language therapy at 2 years 2 months old. This is her mother’s story:

“Our experience with Enrichment Therapy has been wonderful! I have watched my daughter make such awesome progress in her speech and language.  When she started speech therapy, she had a very limited vocabulary and we found ourselves struggling to understand what she was saying/needing! She would often express herself with sounds instead of words. Over the past few months, we have watched her vocabulary develop; she is now able to speak using more than 1 word phrases/sounds.  The struggle to understand her requests has decreased significantly!! We are so proud of the amazing progress she has made!!!” – Holly M.

Where Call and receive a FREE SCREENING! At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center we offer free screenings for all of our services: speech, language, writing, math, and dyslexia. We have offices in North Liberty and the Des Moines metro.

North Liberty Office: 319-626-2553

Johnston Office: 515-419-4270

Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are here to help! Please call in with any questions and we will assist you in any way that we can. Click here to schedule a call!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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