Speech is the most basic means of communication. For parents, the first time their children say “mama” or “dada” is considered a milestone in their speech development. However, speech problems in children could happen, according to the experts at SpeechTails. Parents should understand and know what their children experience.
Common Speech Disorders
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder where the brain cannot coordinate the movement of the lips, jaws and the tongue. This results in the child having a problem enunciating sounds, syllables, and words even though he knows what he wants to say. Children with CAS do not coo or babble as infants; their speech develops later, and have problems combining sounds.
Dysarthria is another motor speech disorder brought on by brain damage. The movement of the lips, tongue, vocal cords and the diaphragm are impaired, which causes slurred, choppy or mumbled speech that is difficult to understand. Children with this disorder have a slow rate of speech with abnormal pitch and rhythm.
Orofacial myofunctional disorder causes the tongue to move forward excessively during speech or swallowing. The tongue thrust is normal in infants, and they usually outgrow it, but if not, the child may look, speak, and swallow differently. Children with OMD say the d s, z, sh, zh, ch, and j sounds differently.
Stuttering is a speech disorder that can begin during childhood and last a lifetime. Stutterers have too many breaks such as uh, uhm or repeated words that affect the fluency of speech. Some may appear very tense and out of breath when speaking and even have completely stopped or blocked speech.
Early detection and treatment are necessary to overcome speech disorders. For an accurate diagnosis and treatment, parents can turn to speech therapists. Speech language pathologists or speech therapists evaluate and consult with the parents and teachers to create a language-rich environment.
Speech therapy varies ranging from group therapies to individual consultations. Therapists may also use different speech therapy tools for children such as toys, games and gadgets.
Hoping that children will outgrow their speech impediment is a mistake, and the more prudent action would be to learn about the signs and seek professional help earlier. Your actions early in your children’s lives will have a great impact in their adulthood.