Speech disorders in children: A foolproof guide for parents

Speech disorders in children: A foolproof guide for parents

As parents, you should ensure that you communicate with you children to help them overcome speech issues. Here are a few strategies for you.

Written by Aishwarya Vaidya |Updated : July 24, 2018 12:00 PM IST

Speech and communication form an integral part of our relationships. One shares his emotions and ideas by communicating. But, do you know that there are many children and adults who find it difficult to communicate and this can hamper their quality of life. Children with speech disorders know what to say but they find it difficult to articulate their thoughts. Children who suffer from speech, language and communication disorders can face many issues while reading, writing, and speaking which can lower their self-esteem.

Children with communication disorders struggle with reading, have difficulty understanding and expressing language, they avoid attending schools and this, in turn, can affect t their academic performance. Problems in language development can cause difficulty to, listen, speak, read or write. But as parents, you can help your child to overcome it.

Spot the signs

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These are a few signs you should watch out for. See a speech therapist immediately who can guide you on how to help your children overcome this problem.

  • (From birth to 4 months): Don't interact or smile
  • (4-7 months): Your kid won't babble
  • (7-12 months): Your kid will make a few gestures or sounds
  • (7 months-2 years): When the child fails to understand what you or others are saying
  • (12-18 months): The kids will say only limited words
  • (1.5- 3 years): They won't be able to make sentences by putting words together
  • (2-3 years): Your child will find it difficult to play or communicate with other children
  • (2.5-3 years): Your child will have a problem while writing, reading or communicating

3 main problems of speech disorder

Articulation: When the kid finds it difficult to pronounce certain words or sounds correctly. Lisps (a speech defect) can be termed as articulate disorders.

Fluency disorder: Your kid may have a fluency disorder if he/she finds it difficult to pronounce a complete word.

Voice disorders: If you do not understand what your kid is trying to say it can be termed as a voice disorder.

Language disorder: A kid who finds it difficult to understand what people are saying or find it difficult to put the words together to express himself can suffer from language disorder.

What you can expect from a speech therapist

Speech therapist will help to correct your child's speech problems. Here's how:

  • A speech therapist (speech-language pathologists) can give your kid a test to identify what type of speech problem the kid has. Depending on that, the kid will receive treatment.
  • If the child has a problem with articulation or fluency, the therapist will help him/her to make sounds.
  • Some therapists can use games (name, place, animal, things) to make it a fun therapy session. Since, the game can help the child to pronounce and write the names of the places, animals and things.
  • For kids with language disorders, your therapist might conduct grammar sessions and will teach you how to make sentences by putting words.
  • The treatment will vary from kid to kid. Some will need short treatments while some will need long.
  • The speech therapist will ask the kids to keep practising the words for better pronunciation.
  • The therapist may ask your child to practice words and sentences by looking at the mirror.

How you can help

Even after taking speech therapy your child will always look up to you for help. Here are a few tips which will help your kids.

  • Read their favourite books with them and make them practice small words. Help them to construct sentences. The process should be slow and gradual as going overboard may be problematic for your child.
  • Introduce your kid to other kids who face the same problems. Your kid may feel a sense of belonging as he/she will see that he/she is not the only one who is suffering from it.
  • Teach your child to set goals and work towards achieving them.
  • Be patient with your child and understand that he/she will take the time to learn. Don't shout or beat your kids. They will fell pressure and they may also get afraid and lose their confidence.
  • There should be a free-flowing of communication: Support your child. Even if they face problems while talking, reading, writing and if they are bullied calm them down and encourage them to keep practising as practice makes one perfect. See to it that you maintain an eye to eye contact with your kids. Allow your kids to communicate with you and let them take their own time.
  • Help him/ her to boost their self-esteem: Yes! Allow your kids to take up a hobby of their choice. Spend some time with your child and motivate him/her. Help him to focus on his strength and try to convert his weaknesses into strength.
  • Teach them to be positive as this will help them to lead an optimistic life.

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