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Get information on speech and language development by text

Parents and caregivers who have concerns about their child’s speech and language development have free access to a resource from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Identify the Signs campaign and Bright by Text.

Designed for families of children ages 2–6, the tool provides parents and caregivers with:

  • timely text messages about expected speech and language milestones,
  • warning signs of a speech or language delay or disorder,
  • suggested activities for encouraging speech and language development at home,
  • messages of support and encouragement for parents, and
  • information on how to get connected with professional help and treatment

Sign up by texting TALK to 274-448. Messages are available in both English and Spanish. At no point will the service share families’ information or try to sell anything.

ASHA is the national association for speech/language and hearing professionals. Bright by Text is a national nonprofit that sends parents and caregivers tips by text message timed to a child’s exact age.

Speech and language disorders are among the most common disorders that young children experience. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 11% of children ages 3-6 have a speech, language, voice or swallowing disorder.

Speech or language impairment is also the most common disability category for which children ages 3–5 receive services through the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. IDEA is the federal law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities, from birth through age 21.

Most speech and language disorders are highly treatable, but the earlier parents and caregivers seek help for their child, the better. Treatment by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) is widely available, often for free or at low cost, through IDEA. Many private SLPs also treat these conditions. A searchable database is available at asha.org/profind.

“We know that many parents have concerns about their child’s speech and language development, but for a variety of reasons, they may adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ approach and delay seeking treatment for months or even years,” said A. Lynn Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP, 2021 ASHA president, in a statement. “Often this is a result of well-meaning family members, friends, or even professionals dismissing their concerns. However, parents absolutely know their child best, and we always encourage them to trust their gut on matters related to their child’s speech and language development. When treatment begins early, it generally takes less time, is less expensive, and offers the greatest chances for improvement for any speech or language disorder.”

This targeted speech and language resource is part of the larger Bright by Text program, which delivers actionable information from trusted early childhood experts to parents/caregivers of children from prenatal to age 8. The information is designed to support healthy child development and build strong, resilient families. Topics covered by the larger Bright by Text service include physical and mental health, social-emotional wellbeing, safety, brain development, connections, encouragement and more.

For more information, visit brightbytext.org and identifythesigns.org

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