A speech disorder, which is also known as a speech impediment, is nothing but a condition in which a child finds it difficult to communicate with others due to the disruption of normal speech. Both children and adults struggle with speech disorders, but in this post, we will only focus on kids with speech disorder.
According to an NIDCD report, “The prevalence of speech sound disorders (namely, articulation disorders or phonological disorders) in young children is 8 to 9 percent.”
The same report also says that “More than three million Americans (about one percent) stutter. Stuttering can affect individuals of all ages, but occurs most frequently in young children between the ages of 2 and 6.”
Children with speech disorder struggle with disfluencies, which are nothing but conditions that make a child imitate words or sounds. And one of the most common disfluencies is stuttering.
Proper development of speech is highly crucial because it’s the most effective way of communicating with people. A child’s inability to express their thoughts not only affects their confidence level but also enhances their frustration level.
And because they are unable to communicate their thoughts in front of others, they find it difficult to make friends, which eventually prevents them from living a happy life.
Types of Speech Disorders
Cluttering is one of the most common speech disorders in which a child speaks utterly fast with an irregular rhythm, which makes it difficult for others to understand whatever they try to communicate. Their sentences have poor syntax and grammar, which makes it hard to understand what exactly they are trying to say.
Apraxia of Speech
Kids suffering from apraxia of speech find it hard to form sounds. In other words, apraxia of speech is a speech disorder that affects the development of a child’s speech production abilities. Even if the child is fully aware of what they want to communicate, when they try to speak it out, they fail to produce the sounds in the right way. And that happens because their brain fails to send the necessary signals to the muscles for stimulating the movement that’s essential for carrying out the sound in question.
Caused by conditions like neck injuries, head injuries, and strokes, etc., dysarthria is a speech disorder that affects the functioning of speech muscles. The speech muscles stop working due to a neurological injury.
People with Parkinson’s disease also struggle with this problem.
Mutism, which is also known as muteness, is a speech disorder in which a child fails to speak anything. People with this problem may have issues with their lungs, tongue, and vocal cords, etc.
Apart from these, other speech disorders include developmental verbal dyspraxia, dysprosody, and voice disorders, etc.
Here are the symptoms that indicate your child may be struggling with a speech disorder.
- Producing unnecessary sounds while communicating
- Repeating a word, phrase or sound
- Feeling frustrated when unable to put across their views due to speech problems
- Feeling embarrassed while talking to others due to their inability to communicate effectively
- Taking a long pause while communicating
So, if your child is also struggling with a speech disorder, here is how you can help them.
Don’t Be Rude with Them
If your child has difficulty communicating with people, and you want to help them live a happy and dignified life, make sure that you treat them well in the first place. Don’t ever behave rudely with them if they are unable to explain something to you or others.
Take Your Child To A Physical Therapist
If the speech problem that your child is facing is too severe, then it’s better to take them to a reliable physical therapy clinic. Their therapist will identify the root cause of their speech disorder and will create an individualized treatment plan to address their problem.
According to Achieva Rehabilitation, a physical therapist makes sure that the patient receives the best quality care for recovering from their problem.
Kids with speech disorder have low self-confidence, so if you want to enhance your child’s confidence level, try to make them believe that you are always there to support them. Whenever they confront a problem, help them out immediately.
Allow Them To Meet Similar Kids
If you know someone in your circle whose child is also suffering from the same problem, plan a get together so that your kid can meet that child. When two or more than two kids with speech disorder interact with each other, it not only makes them happy but also increases their self-confidence. Because they struggle with the same problem, they understand each other in a better way, and hence they end up becoming good friends soon.
Help Them In Correcting Their Mistakes
No matter what kind of speech problems your child is facing, you should always have this attitude of helping them. For example, if your child is unable to emit a sound correctly, show them how to do it. Every time your child makes a mistake in emitting a sound, you should bring it to their notice in a very polite way so that they do not feel bad about it.
Apart from that, you should encourage your child to perform physical activities and consume a healthy diet so that they can feel energetic all the time.