Children are different from each other in the way they
develop. Some are faster, and some are slower, but they might all be
developing normally. It is hard to tell if there is a real language
delay. There are some guidelines about children’s speech and language
skills that will help you decide if the child is delayed. These are
known as “developmental
milestones.” You and the parents may want to look at a checklist
to see if a child’s speech and language skills are developing
There are three types of articulation disorders. They are called omissions, substitutions, or distortions. Omission means leaving something out. An example of a speech omission is saying “at” for “hat” or “oo” for “shoe.” Substitution means putting something where something else belongs. An example of a speech substitution is the use of “w” for “r” and saying “wabbit” for “rabbit.” Another example is using “th” for “s” and saying “thun” for “sun.” Distortion means that the parts are mostly there, but they are a little wrong. The child says a word that sounds something like what it should, but it is not quite right. An example is “shlip” for “ship.”
Articulation disorders are not the same as “baby talk.” It is important to know the difference. Baby talk happens in young children who mispronounce words. That is normal and not a disorder. In older children it is no longer cute. Articulation problems then get in the way of good communication. Sometimes a different accent may be confused with articulation problems. An accent is a problem for a child only if it gets in the way of the child’s communication. As a general rule, a child should be able to make all the sounds of English by the age of 8.
Articulation problems may come from:
Most children stutter a little when they learn to talk. It is most common in children between the ages of 2 and 6. They are just starting to develop their language and speech skills. Boys are three times more likely to stutter than girls. Stuttering when learning language is natural and common. Most children outgrow it.
Some children may stutter more in certain situations. They may stutter when they have to speak in front of many people or speak on the telephone. Some children who stutter may not do so when they talk to themselves or when they sing.
Stuttering may be caused by:
Voice disorders in children can be corrected with speech therapy. In speech therapy, children are taught to speak softly. They are also taught not to scream, shout, or do anything that may hurt their vocal cords and affect their voice. Remember that children like to copy what the adults around them do. So if they see you speaking loudly or shouting, they will do the same. Practice speaking softly so that the children around you will do the same.
Voice disorders are not common in children. Also, they are usually temporary.
Aphasia is a language disorder. It is caused by injury to those parts of the brain that are responsible for language. This is mostly the left side of the brain. Aphasia may be caused suddenly, perhaps from a stroke or a head injury, or it may develop slowly, perhaps from a brain tumor.
Aphasia affects the way children talk and the way they understand what others are saying. It weakens a child’s ability to read and write.
Aphasia is very rare in children.
For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at firstname.lastname@example.org
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