Speech problem refers to a delay in the development or use of the mechanisms that produce speech.
How I know that my child has a speech problem?
If your child might have a problem, it's important to see a speech-language pathologist (SLP) right away. You can find a speech-language pathologist on your own, or ask your health care provider to refer you to one.
The SLP (or speech therapist) will check your child's speech and language skills. The pathologist will do standardized tests and look for milestones in speech and language development.
The SLP also will check:
what your child understands (called receptive language)
what your child can say (called expressive language)
sound development and clarity of speech
your child's oral–motor status (how the mouth, tongue, palate, etc., work together for speech as well as eating and swallowing)
Based on the test results, the speech-language pathologist might recommend speech therapist for your child.
The speech therapist will work with your child to improve speech and language skills, and show you what to do at home to help your child.
What is the role of parents to enhance the speech issues?
Parents are an important part of helping kids who have a speech or language problem.
Here are a few ways to encourage speech development at home:
- Focus on communication. Talk with your baby, sing, and encourage imitation of sounds and gestures.
- Read to your child. Start reading when your child is a baby. Look for age-appropriate soft or board books or picture books that encourage kids to look while you name the pictures.
- Use everyday situations. To build on your child's speech and language, talk your way through the day. Name foods at the grocery store, explain what you're doing as you cook a meal or clean a room, and point out objects around the house. Keep things simple, but avoid "baby talk."