A lisp or mild stuttering in children can be endearing, but they can also indicate an underlying speech disorder that may need attention. Up to nine percent of children in the U.S. will have some type of speech or sound disorder. Most of these children can avoid longer-term speech and language problems with early intervention.
What is a speech disorder?
There are four types of speech disorders:
How are speech disorders diagnosed?
Parents or caregivers who are concerned that their child shows sign of any of the above disorders should reach out to their pediatrician. The first step is most likely a hearing test to make sure the child doesn’t have hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect 25 percent of children in some form, and six percent of those children will be diagnosed with a speech disorder.
Your child may need to be seen by a speech language pathologist (SLP). This person has received a master’s degree in speech language pathology and often has extra certifications or licensing.
What can you expect from treatment?
Mild speech disorders will often go away with time. For issues that linger or for more pronounced problems, treatment by an SLP may be needed:
Early intervention is key
If you are concerned that your child may have a speech or language disorder, the “wait and see” approach isn’t best. Speech disorders can affect not only how children speak, but how they learn and interact with the world. Acting early can reduce developmental or learning delays so your child will have more confidence to fully participate in the classroom and in life.
Tags: autism, behavioral pediatrics, Children’s Health, diagnosing speech disorders, fluency, Healthy Living, hearing loss, language, play-based therapy, speech, speech articulation, speech disorders, speech pathology, Wellness