It may be a subtle stutter when they speak, or the trouble they have when reading and spelling. Speech disability is an uncomfortable condition for both children and parents. If you suspect your child has a speech disability, it’s important to intervene early with speech therapy to help with language development and communication skills.
You can find speech therapists in Los Angeles, New York, and most other cities and towns.
Could your child have a speech/language disability?
If your child’s teacher reports that they have trouble articulating, you should take a keen interest in the matter. It can be tough to rule out possible causes; your child’s speech impairment could just be a phase that they’ll grow out of, but it may also be an indication of a speech disability that needs treatment. Only a speech therapist can make that diagnosis for sure, so schedule an appointment.
Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, can help pinpoint the exact impediment to your child’s language development. There are seven common speech disorders that your child may have.
Seven Types of Speech Disorders
Speaking disorders – This is a condition in which the child experiences difficulty articulating words clearly. Often, they will make errors in the production of sounds to the point of being difficult to understand or incomprehensible.
Fluency disorders – The most prominent symptom of this condition is frequent stuttering that breaks up natural communication. It can manifest as repetition, as in the word ‘d-d-dog’, or as elongating words, as in ‘ssssmart.’
Resonance and voice disorders – These disorders manifest as problems with voice pitch and volume. The quality of the child’s voice is impacted enough that listeners may have difficulty understanding what is being said. The child might also complain of pain or discomfort when speaking.
Receptive disorders – This is when the child has difficulty understanding and processing speech.
Expressive disorders – The child has trouble putting words together to form cohesive speech. They also exhibit a limited choice of words and inability to communicate in social settings.
Cognitive disorders – The child’s communication problems are caused by impaired memory, limited attention span, skewed perception, and/or stunted problem-solving.
Feeding disorders – The child has problems eating or drinking. They will display difficulty chewing and swallowing, which may result in gagging or coughing.
When to Seek Professional Assistance
The following symptoms and conditions can benefit from speech therapy.
- Symptoms of Autism
- Low levels of fluency for their age
- Difficulty in articulation and pronunciation
- Severe voice hoarseness
- Thought delays
- Problems eating and swallowing
- Cleft lip /cleft palate
- Breathing disorders
- Traumatic brain injury
How Speech Therapy Works
Speech therapists in Los Angeles and other locations are professionals educated in the science of human communication, language development and oral communication disorders. They are licensed for practice by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Speech-language pathologists (speech therapists) diagnose problems with speech, language, cognitive and feeding to identify underlying issues that can be targeted for treatment. The SLP will have regular, one-on-one sessions with your child or in small groups to help them overcome speaking disorders.
Speech therapists trained in language intervention will sharpen your child’s oral communication skills through several activities, including playing, reading, talking and using special cues to stimulate language growth.
Articulation activities help your child with articulation and vocalization. Therapists will teach the proper sounds and syllables in sentences during study and play. The therapist will even teach the child how to make the correct sounds by demonstrating how to move the tongue correctly.
During oral feeding therapy, oral exercises like facial massage, tongue, lip or jaw activities will help to improve your child’s oral feeding abilities. The therapist will use different food tastes, textures and temperatures to stimulate your child’s responsiveness when eating and swallowing.
Where to Find a Speech Therapist
The best speech therapists have adequate training and certification by ASHA. You can find specialists by asking for referrals from your child’s teacher or pediatrician. If you’re looking for a speech therapist in Los Angeles or another city, check the internet for local listings and reviews.
Your Role as a Parent
You will have to be fully involved in your child’s language development, even as they progress through speech therapy. Loving parental participation accelerates the entire process of ensuring your child improves their language abilities.
The speech therapist may also suggest that your child continues with speech intervention exercises while at home or in school. It will be your role as the parent, as well as the teacher’s, to ensure that this happens in order to fast track speech learning progress.
Treatment of speech disorders is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of effort on the part of the parent, child, and other important adults in the child’s life. Family members and teachers must be prepared to invest time and effort in the child’s speech therapy. One step at a time, your child can improve their speaking abilities.