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Speech Impairment in kids By Dr. Atish Laddad, Founder & Director- Docterz

How to Treat

It is true kids are born ready to absorb a language, but most importantly they need to learn and understand the language or the mother tongue followed and used by their family and surrounding environment. Getting a hang of a language definitely demands a certain amount oftime, and children tend to differ in how rapidly they master the milestones in speech and language development. Characteristically kids, as they begin to mature may depict difficulty with some words, sounds and sentences while they are in the process of learning.

However, most toddlers have the ability to use language effortlessly around the age group of 5 years but in case your child does not master speech by this time, he or she may have an impaired speech.  Many children might experience a short-term delay in development of speech. While most of them will eventually catch up with the speech, some might endure to have troubles with communication progress or may suffer from speech impairment. A child who has a speech disorder may have problems with speech, production of sound, voice, resonance or will fail to have a fluency of speech.

What exactly is a speech disorder in kids?

Speech disorders can totally affect the way a child creates sounds in order to form words. Although certain voice syndromes may also be categorized as speech impairments, the foremost form of speech disorder is stuttering. Other speech maladies comprise of apraxia and dysarthria.

  • Apraxia is a motor speech ailment which is caused by impairment to the parts of the brain linked to speaking.
  • Dysarthria is a motor speech condition in which the mouth and facial muscles or respirational system may become frail or have trouble moving.

Some children having speech impairment are totally mindful of what they would like to speak but are incapable of articulating their thoughts properly. This if not received timely treatment may contribute to major self-esteem issues and depression in kids in the later stages of life. Early medical intervention can effectively correct these vocal conditions.

What causes speech disorders?  Speech disorders can majorly affect the vocal cords, nerves, muscles and other structures within the throat.

Causes of an impaired speech may include:

  • Any damage to the vocal cord
  • Brain injury
  • Weakness of the muscle
  • Respirational weakness
  • Strokes
  • Autism in kids
  • Problem of Dementia
  • Vocal cord Polyps or knots on the verbal cords
  • Paralysis of the vocal cord
  • Speech disorders may also be genetic, or can also be developed over the time.


The symptoms of a language disorder?

Based on the cause of the speech disorder, numerous indications may be present. Common signs experienced by kids with speech disorders are:

  • Repetition of sounds
  • Adding additional sounds and words
  • Lengthening of words
  • Making spasmodic movements while they talk, typically involving the head
  • Blinking numerous times while speaking
  • Noticeable frustration when trying to converse
  • Taking recurrent pauses when speaking
  • Distorting sounds when speaking
  • Hoarseness, or speaking with a hoarse or rough sounding voice

What are the probable difficulties of speech disorders?

If not treated on a timely basis speech disorders may lead the child to undergo a great deal of nervousness. On a long-term basis, this anxiety can lead to nervousness, ailments or a phobia of conversing in public. Early treatment for anxiety can majorly facilitate in mitigating the growth of anxiety disorders or fears. Treatment options comprise of talk therapy for the child.

How are speech disorders treated?

Minor speech disorders may not even require any treatment as the child will automatically overcome it with time. Some speech disorders may just fade away while the others will recover with speech therapy. Treatment differs and depends on the type and intensity of the syndrome. Once your child undergoes speech therapy, a skilled therapist will guide your child through exercises that help in strengthening the facial and throat muscles. These easy exercises will help the child learn to regulate their breathing while speaking. Muscle-strengthening exercises and measured breathing will aid in benefitting the way your words sound. Through talk therapy, your child will also learn ways to practice smoother, more fluent and a more confident speech.

How can parents help children in learning language?

Parents and guardians are the most significant educators during a child’s initial years. Children imbibe speech as they attentively listen to others speak followed by practicing. Even the tiny toddler’s notice when others replicate and respond positively to the sounds and noises they make. An important point that parents must make a note of is that a child’s language and brain skills get sturdier if they hear numerous different words. Parents can lend a helping hand to aid their child learn in many diverse ways, such as:

  • Replying to the primary sounds, gurgles, and gesticulations that are made by the tiny tot.
  • Reiterating what the child says and also making their additions to it.
  • Speaking about the various things that a child perceives and understands.
  • Questioning the child on regular intervals and closely listening to the responses.
  • Looking at or reading books, reciting stories and singing songs and rhymes.
  • Parents should be vigilant on the way their toddler hears and talks and how the child should be reacting to sounds and should have their hearing and speech tested in case they have any concerns.

If a child has any difficulty with the development of language or speech, parents should seek help from a healthcare provider about an assessment. A significant first step which should not be missed is to find out if the child may be suffering from a hearing loss. Hearing impairment may be hard to notice predominantly if a child has hearing loss only in a single ear or has a partial hearing loss, which means they are able to hear some sounds while not all.

Language or speech impairments can occur with other learning illnesses that can majorly impact reading and writing as well. Children suffering with language disorders may feel discouraged that they fail to comprehend others or make themselves understood, and they may act out, act helpless, or withdraw. Even emotive or behavioural disorders like autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety can contribute to difficulty in speaking in kids. The mixture of such challenges can make it primarily difficult for a child to flourish in academics in school. Appropriately identifying a child’s disorder is vital so that each child can get the right kind of assistance.

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