Approximately 10% of preschoolers suffer from speech and language delays, a condition in which their verbal development lags behind the typical rate. It is one of the most common developmental issues children face as they grow up.
Is your child having difficulty speaking? If so, it may be indicative of a speech delay. Here are some signs to look out for:
There are many potential causes of speech delay, but the most common include:
In addition to developmental and genetic disorders, consider the following:
Growing up in a bilingual environment can have an impact on a child’s language and speech. As the youngster works to interpret both languages, it may take longer for the baby to start using one or both dialects they are studying. It is not unusual for these kids to stick with one of their two tongues during this period.
Your doctor can assist you in identifying a potential language delay and can assess your child’s verbal proficiency as well as his or her mental development. To further investigate the cause of this possible speech impediment, they may refer you to specialized medical professionals such as an audiologist for more comprehensive testing. Audiologists are certified experts who specialize in diagnosing hearing-related issues – if yours suspects that it could be playing a part, she will likely make this referral so that your child has access to proper care and treatment options.
While some speech delays may not be preventable, depending on the cause of your child’s delay, you can take action to potentially reduce or avoid it.
While it is possible that your child’s delayed speech simply requires more waiting, if treatment becomes necessary, the type of therapy necessitated will depend on the source of their difficulty. Your physician can provide you with a diagnosis and discuss potential treatments. In addition to this, they may also refer you to a certified Speech-Language Pathologist who will help both yourself and your little one learn how to communicate better through speaking or even lip reading!
Teaching toddlers and infants a modified form of sign language can be highly advantageous for their linguistic development. Contrary to popular belief, incorporating sign language into early childhood does not impede the child’s progress in verbal communication.
To get the best treatment, your doctor may suggest that you visit other specialists such as a psychologist to help with behavioral issues, an occupational therapist who can aid in everyday activities, and/or a social worker to assist with family matters. He or she might also recommend early intervention programs near your area linked with the local school district.
If your child’s speech has been hindered by a hearing loss, hearing aids or cochlear implants may be able to provide them with access to sound and even assist in their development of language. Moreover, these devices can help your youngster keep pace with other children who do not suffer from the same impairment.
Every day, make sure to talk out loud and explain what you are doing when around your child. The more language they hear and understand, the better! When speaking with them, don’t forget to validate their words if they do communicate and give positive reinforcement at all times. Keep talking – it’s essential for encouraging verbal communication in children!
Parenting a child with speech and language delays can be a difficult journey that may leave you feeling helpless. Though it may be hard to understand, your kiddo desires to express themselves — yet they’re unable to do so in the way we expect them to. As such, their frustration often leads them down an avenue of unpredictable behavior in order for them to get our attention. The silver lining is that there are several things we can do as parents: read books together; use lots of words when speaking; praise all efforts made towards communicating verbally – no matter how small or insignificant they seem!