Doctors or pediatrician recommend speech therapy for children who has communication or speech difficulties. Their focus is on articulation, language intervention and generally focuses on improving communication.

Parents will be in a better position if they are able to identify if their child is having challenges in articulation, speech, or language. Children with speech disorders affect their ability to produce sounds that create words whereas language disorder affects how they learn words or understand others. Last but not least, communication disorder deals with the inability of a person to receive, send, process and comprehend what was being expressed through verbal, non-verbal, or graphic form.

Conditions that require a speech therapist

Articulation disorder – Condition where a child has difficulty making a specific speech sound. The sound could be substituted, omitted, distorted, or added when a child makes a sound.

Fluency disorder – A condition where a child has difficulty speaking in a fluent manner. Stuttering occurs when you repeat a certain word or part of a word repetitively while cluttering happens when you speak too fast and all words are clustered together.

Resonance disorder – Condition where too much or too little energy is channelled through the nose, throat, or mouth when producing speech.

Receptive disorder – Condition where a child does not understand what was being said or they respond in a way that is beyond the context

Expressive disorder – Condition where a child is not able to use language to express their ideas

Cognitive communicative disorder – Condition where a child has difficulty communicating due to injury to the brain that affects their ability to think

Dysarthria – Condition where the muscles used for speech is weak and thus not able to control for speech

What can you do as parents?

However, finding the right speech therapist can be time-consuming and costly. While you are exploring your options, do these with your child at home.

Speak

Spend time with your child doing activities with them. Daily routines such as brushing teeth, eating breakfast, or even taking a walk in the park can create many opportunities to engage your child in a conversation. Speak to them at their pace and use words to identify, describe and explain to your child. Even though your child may not speak to you, they are still absorbing the sound, tone and expression while you produce speech.

Picture

As an adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Introduce pictures of objects to have your child identify and use it as a tool to communicate. Flip through your old photos and share what is the experience behind the photos. It is a great option to go through the who, what, where, when, and how. Give your child the opportunity to use pictures and produce the sound of the picture. Reward your child with an encouragement note or praise when they make an attempt to produce sound or make a request.

Straw

As speaking utilized our nose, throat, and mouth, most therapist introduces activities that use straws. Blow bubbles, drink through straws or play games that involve straws. The blowing action builds the muscles required to produce speech. As the muscle strengthens, it becomes easier for the child to produce sound.

Read more on what is speech therapy is all about from Healthline.

Join us for our Facebook live session with Muhammad Safwan, Speech Therapist on the topic of Is your child’s language development normal? on Sunday, 27th March, 10:00am.

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