With their normal growth and growing age, children acquire speech and language skills. But some children may have speech problems. There may be disturbances in their speech power.
A speech disorder is a condition under which the child has all kinds of difficulty in speaking. Has trouble producing and using pronunciation, voice, fluency, and speech sounds necessary for communication, although he understands words well and knows the language.
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- About half of all children who stutter have a close family member who stutters.
Age when stutter starts:
- A child who begins stuttering before 3.5 years of age is less likely to stutter later on in life. The earlier the stuttering starts, the less likely it is to continue long-term.
Causes of stammering/stuttering
- If the child has a neurological problem or other problems such as cleft lip, cleft palate, or tongue-tie, the speech is affected.
Also read: What Is Neural Tube Defect?
- A stroke or brain injury may affect the signals between the mind, speech, nerves, and muscles, thereby leading to stuttering.
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- Factors like stress and embarrassment may make stuttering worse in people who stutte.
Symptoms of speech disorder
- Problems in starting a word or phrase.
- Hesitation before the specific sound has to utter.
- Repetition of a sound, word, or syllable.
- Speech may come out in spurts.
- Trembling lips and jaws (when trying to talk)
- exclamations like “Uhm’ used more frequently before attempting to utter certain sounds.
This is an affective disorder in which the child has difficulty in the voluntary movement of the tongue, lips, or jaw. The child knows what he wants to speak, but the brain cannot coordinate with the muscle movements needed to form words. That is, the muscles of the mouth are not able to support him in speaking.
Difficult and slurred speech: paralysis, weakness, or general weakness of the mouth’s muscles. Due to this, the speech or speaking attempt seems to be slow, incorrect, staggering, and hypernasal, i.e., coming out of the nose too much.
Stammering, also known as stuttering, in that speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions by prolonging sound, words of sound.
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There is no single method for the treatment of speech impairment. Specialists combine different modalities and therapies and thus help in improving the child’s speech.
Every child responds to treatment in their way; that is, treatment is different for every child because some children improve faster than others.
Specialists can advise parents on how to arrange appropriate support and care for the child. Parents can also participate in therapy sessions. From this, they can learn how to continue the therapy at home as continuous practice leads to rapid improvement in the condition.
Committed to helping and full of love, the home environment is conducive and friendly towards improvement.
A healthy child is more receptive or sensitive to treatments and therapies. A child suffering from a physical illness (ear and sinus infection, tonsils, allergies, or asthma) may not find it beneficial because physical therapy may interfere with speech therapy.
Therefore, parents should take complete care of the physical health of the child who has speech disorder because if the health is good, then the child will be able to take complete or say unilateral benefit from the therapy or therapy being given to improving speech and his condition can be seen to improve rapidly.
Teaching the child skills, strategies, and behaviours that help in oral communication. May include Fluency shaping therapy and Stuttering modification therapy.
Parents should not put extra pressure on the child regarding fluency of speech during preschool age.
Give the child sufficient time to express himself.
Never criticize the child for his/her address.
Encourage the child to speak clearly by teaching him/her songs and nursery rhymes.
Make the child feel that parents are interested in his talks.
Speech disorders affect a person’s capacity to make words. It’s not just a language disorder that people have difficulty speaking and understanding.
Speech disorders affect a person’s self-esteem and his life. However, speech therapy, breathing exercises, and sometimes anti-anxiety medications also help improve speech.
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