Speech disorders pertain to one’s difficulty or inability to produce normal sounds orally for communication. Some of the symptoms may include stuttering, which is a frequent repetition of sounds in an attempt to pronounce them, unclear speech delivery, lisping wherein “s” and “z” sounds are pronounced like “th,” or vocal pitch and volume problems. Some people may also have speech limitations which prevent them from talking in particular circumstances or be unable to talk completely. Speech disorders may be caused by a great number of reasons.
Sometimes, it may be because of certain physical deformities from birth such as cleft palate or cleft lip. There may also be certain disorders affecting the mouth area or the vocal cords. Deafness is another reason for speech disorders as is brain damage, such as a malformed cerebellum. If a person is born with autism or Down’s syndrome, it is highly likely he or she will have problems with speech. Whatever reasons there are for this condition, it is necessary to face the problem immediately to be able to work on improving, or hopefully curing it completely. Here are some helpful suggestions.
- Earlytesting. One of the biggest reasons why there is an increased development of speech disorders is because it is not identified early on. Certain abnormalities may already be present at birth, such as deafness, which do not manifest immediately. It will not hurt if testing a new-born for certain defects is done, in case there may be a problem existing somewhere. Early detection makes it easier to address the problem in the best possible ways available. After this, it would also help to follow up those tests each time a baby pays regular visits to the pediatrician.
- Gain knowledge of normal speech development. The people who will be able to tell immediately if a child has problems with speech development are the parents. It is important to know what to expect during the early years of the child and what may be lacking as well. Speech development is apparent during a child’s first three years. A parent must know what normally happens every few months and learn how to observe if the child is going through his speech development as he should, or otherwise.
At 6 months old, there must already be some form of communication through cooing or other baby sounds. At about 18 months, a few words should be expected, while at two years of age, the child should be able to speak in a few sentences. From there on, more and more words and sentences are formed and spoken out. If anything out of the ordinary should occur, a doctor must be consulted.
- Spend time reading to a child. One of the most effective ways to help a child develop his speech is through reading. Children can easily absorb what is spoken out loud and regularly reading to them gives them the chance to learn new words. They will try to imitate these words and build up their vocabulary. Start off with words that are easy to pronounce and understand.
Give the child a chance to speak by encouraging him to repeat these words. Allow him to talk in short sentences as well. However, it is also necessary to remember that a child should not feel too pressured when it comes to speaking. Setting up impossible standards and expecting too much may cause the child to withdraw, which may delay speech development rather than help in its progress.
If the child really does have difficulty in speaking despite all of the efforts extended, a speech therapist may be the answer. This person is an expert on speech disorder conditions and will know the right type of therapy for the specific problem.