How should you evaluate a toddler for speech delay?
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Use a brief screening tool to assess children for speech and language delay at every preventive visit. If a delay in speech is identified, evaluate the child for potentially treatable causes, starting with a history and physical examination and a formal audiogram. Additional tests and referral to appropriate specialists may be indicated (strength of recommendation [SOR]: C, expert opinion). Speech and language therapy improves phonological delays and vocabulary difficulties in young children (SOR: A, systematic review of randomized controlled trials [RCTs]). However, no studies have evaluated long-term outcomes or looked for adverse effects from speech and language screening or interventions.
Clinical Inquiries, 2011 (MU)
Journal of Family Practice, 60(4) 2011: 230-231.