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Are you worried because your child hasn’t started talking yet? Or is it that your child doesn't seem to listen or understand what you’re saying?
Some of the speech-language disorders that can affect children include:
Some children may have hearing loss that interferes with development of speech and language. An audiologist can help if you have any concerns about your child's hearing. For other children, a communication issue may be attributed to another condition, such as intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder or selective mutism. In some cases, the development of speech and language is simply delayed.
Don't wait and hope your child will outgrow a communication problem. Speech and language disorders can have negatively affect your child’s ability to read, write, learn and even socialize. The earlier you get help for your child, the better.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) lists some of the early signs to help you determine if your child has a speech-language disorder:
Signs of a language disorder
Signs of a speech sound disorder
Signs of a fluency disorder
Signs of a voice disorder
It’s important to identify speech-language problems early, so your child can begin treatment as soon as possible, as early intervention is key.
ASHA says: “The earlier a child's speech and language problems are identified and treated, the less likely it is that problems will persist or get worse. Early speech and language intervention can help children be more successful with reading, writing, schoolwork, and interpersonal relationships.”
If you’re concerned about how your child is communicating, start with your pediatrician. Your doctor may suggest you take your child to a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for a comprehensive evaluation.
As a parent, your involvement is crucial to helping your child overcome a speech-language disorder. You can help by telling stories, playing word games, reciting rhymes and songs, engaging in conversation, reading books together, and more. ASHA also offers these activities parent can use to encourage speech and language development in young children, from birth-2 years, 2-4 years and 4-6 years of age.
Learn more about speech therapy at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
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