In a recent parent-teacher conference, the teacher expressed concern that your child may have a problem with certain speech or language skills. Or perhaps while talking to your child, you noticed an occasional stutter.
Could your child have a problem? And if so, what should you do?
It's wise to intervene quickly. An evaluation by a certified speech-language pathologist can help determine if your child is having difficulties. Speech-language therapy is the treatment for most kids with speech and/or language disorders.
Speech Disorders and Language Disorders
A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.
Speech disorders include
Articulation disorders: difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that listeners can't understand what's being said. Fluency disorders: problems such as stuttering, in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonging sounds and syllables (ssssstuttering). Resonance or voice disorders: problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what's being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for a child when speaking. Dysphagia/oral feeding disorders: these include difficulties with drooling, eating, and swallowing.
Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive
- Receptive disorders: difficulties understanding or processing language.
- Expressive disorders: difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.