How Do I Know If My Child Has Speech and Language Impairments?
The gift of speech goes far beyond the ability to communicate effectively. It also enables your child to succeed in school and be prepared academically to face future challenges. It also contributes to their social development.
When your child has speech or language delays, it’s vital to get help in a timely manner. It is also important to note that there are many areas where a child’s communication skills are impacted by different speech and language delays or disorders.
As we explore the signs of articulation delays, it’s important to realize there are some subtle differences between an articulation delay and a language delay.
As we explore these signs, it’s important to realize that your child’s methods of processing speech are still developing. It’s perfectly normal for younger children to occasionally say sounds incorrectly. According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, some sounds do not even develop until a child has reached 4, 5, or even 6 years of age.
What’s the Difference Between an Articulation Delay and a Language Delay?
Often, it can be easy to confuse what constitutes issues with language and articulation development. In actuality, these are two different issues.
When a child has articulation delays or disorders, they have not mastered production of speech sounds in a developmentally appropriate time-frame. They may have problems with the mobility of the articulators (for ex. lips and tongue), muscle weaknesses that impact the movement of the articulators or motor planning deficits. Speech sound omissions and substitutions may make it difficult for others to understand them.
Language delays and disorders occur when your child has difficulty understanding what is being said to them and/or has difficulty expressing themselves. They may have difficulties following directions or identifying pictures and objects. They may be delayed in using single words and two-word combinations. Their grammar or syntax may be disorganized and they may struggle with correct use of pronouns or verb tenses.
8 Signs Your Child May Have Communication Impairments
Following are guidelines to help you determine if your child is having difficulty with their articulation, language, voice, or fluency skills and if a Speech-Language Evaluation is recommended:
- Your child is consistently repeating the first sounds or syllables of words such as “c c c cup” for “cup” or “may may maybe” or they stretch sounds out like “ffffarm” for “farm”. These could be signs of stuttering.
- Your child has difficulty imitating and producing speech sounds and progressing to correct production of words. They may be substituting or omitting sounds in words. These are signs of articulation delays.
- Your child has been diagnosed with a tongue-tie.
- Your child has difficulty understanding what others are saying, has difficulty following directions or has delays in their receptive vocabulary skills. These are signs your child has receptive language delays.
- Your child has difficulty with their expressive vocabulary, use of correct grammar skills, or choosing the correct word to complete sentences. These are signs your child may have expressive language delays.
- Your child does not look at their partner’s face, has difficulty initiating and maintaining topics, or has difficulty with conversational turn-taking. These are signs your child may have difficulties with pragmatic or social language skills.
- Your child’s voice often sounds raspy or hoarse. Your child may have difficulty controlling the pitch or volume of their voice. These are signs your child may have voice problems. An ENT examination is the first step to evaluating a child’s voice mechanism.
- Your child has been diagnosed with Autism, Down Syndrome, or Global Developmental Delays.
What Can Cause Speech and Language Impairments?
There are a wide variety of causes that can contribute to delays. It’s vital to talk with your speech pathologist, who works with our ear, nose and throat doctors, to get an accurate diagnosis.
Some of the common causes of speech and language disorders include:
- Brain damage that may be the result of an injury
- Weak muscles
- Damage to vocal cords
- Down syndrome
- Recurrent ear infections and middle ear fluid accompanied by a conductive hearing loss
How are Speech and Language Impairments Treated?
The first step is an evaluation. Treatment will obviously depend upon getting to the heart of the underlying cause. For example, if the speech impairment is due to tongue tie, then surgery may be warranted.
Some speech issues may be caused by hearing loss, in which case your child may need to be tested by one of our audiologists to see if they need a hearing aid.
Speech therapy can also be beneficial to those who may have autism or cerebral palsy.
Raleigh Capitol ENT Offers Pediatric Speech-Language Evaluations and Therapy at a Convenient Location Near You
Speech and Language Delays can have a dramatic impact on our child. Not only may they affect their ability to interact with others, but they may also lead to future learning difficulties.
All of our speech-language pathologists have master’s degrees and are licensed by the State of North Carolina Board of Examiners for Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists. In addition, they each hold a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA).
But beyond the accolades, they demonstrate a deep dedication to helping patients in our service areas – Garner, Wake Forest, Raleigh, Cary, and Holly Springs. Getting therapy started is vital to ensuring that your child can improve their communication abilities.
Scheduling an appointment is quick and easy. Just contact us.