Does your child have difficulty speaking? Do they have trouble articulating certain words or phrases? Do they have problems in social settings because they struggle to communicate? Speech impairment can be difficult for the child and adult alike. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. A speech therapist can provide treatment to correct your child’s speech difficulties. Now, if your child has a speech disorder and you are looking for help, here is some useful information for you.
What is a Speech Impediment?
A Speech impediment can include difficulty with voice production and/or producing speech sounds correctly or fluently. Articulation disorders, stuttering, and difficulties pronouncing sounds are examples of speech difficulties. There are multiple causes for this, here are a few.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)
Children with CAS struggle with articulating words, syllables, and sounds. This disorder is not because of paralysis or muscle weakness. Its cause is the brain having difficulty coordinating lip, jaw, or tongue movement necessary for speech.
The emphasis of intervention for CAS is on improving the sequencing, planning, and coordinating the muscle movements for speech production. Research reveals when children have frequent one-on one therapy (three to five times weekly), the best results are realized. Group therapy may be implemented after initial successes.
Stuttering can include complete blocks, prolongations and repetitions of speech. Disfluencies (interruptions in a smooth speech flow) tend to be present in most speaking situations.
When a child avoids talking, changes words and/or uses extra sounds to get started, stutters with considerable tension and effort, or stutters on more than 10% of their speech, they would benefit greatly from having sessions with a speech therapist.
Dysarthria is a motor speech difficulty caused by weak muscles used for speech. Slow or slurred speech is a result, and the child can be difficult to understand.
The only treatment for dysarthria is speech-language therapy. These treatments may include exercises to strengthen jaw and mouth muscles, learning ways to speak slower, and learning to control breath to make the voice louder.
In a phonemic disorder, the child is having difficulty learning the language’s sound system, failing to recognize which sound-contrasts have contrasting meanings. For example, they may not recognize the sounds (T) and (K) as having different meanings, so “call” and “tall,” may both be pronounced as “tall.”This disorder is called phoneme collapse and may cause many sounds to be represented by one.
Phonemic disorders are frequently treated using minimal pairs (two words which differ by one sound) to draw the child’s attention to the difference and its effect on communication.