Have you ever thought about all the ways you and your child communicate? Early on, you learned the difference between a hungry cry and a tired cry; your soothing voice lets him know he’s safe and loved and your firm voice tells him it really is time to put the blocks away and get his pajamas on. His first words created a link between the two of you, a bond built on the foundation of language. For some children, these bonds aren’t so easily built. Problems with pronunciation, articulation, and the pragmatics of speech and language can make communication difficult. If your child has a speech or language delay, difficulty with pronunciation and articulation, or just needs help understanding how language works, a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) can help.
Sometimes it’s easy to tell that your child wants to say something, but what’s he’s trying to say isn’t clear. His tone of voice, gestures, and speech patterns indicate that he’s trying to make deliberate sounds with meaning, but the sounds aren’t coming out in a way that you can understand. These problems with articulation and pronunciation can have a physical cause, or can be caused by hearing loss or processing difficulties. A qualified SLP can evaluate your child’s speech and help him learn to speak more clearly.
Some kids take longer to learn language than others. Speech delays are often found alongside other developmental delays, and addressing them early can help your child “catch up” in time to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with her peers.
Language and Pragmatics
Often, children can say words just fine, but have trouble using them correctly. For example, some kids can’t quite get the hang of not using “me” in place of “my,” “mine,” and “I”. Others might have a hard time understanding the “give-and-take” part of conversation, or struggle to use the right words in the right place. Spending some time with an SLP can help your child learn and remember these rules, helping to facilitate better lifelong communication skills.
Stuttering can show up in a few different ways, such as repeating the initial sounds of words, or drawing out a syllable, unable to complete the word. While some children outgrow their stuttering, others need help from an SLP to be able to speak more effectively and efficiently.
Hygiene probably isn’t something you associate with speech and language, but in this case, it refers to how your child cares for his voice. Speaking too loudly or with an unusual pitch can actually damage your child’s vocal chords, leading to hoarseness, irritation, and even pain. A qualified SLP can help your child learn to modulate his voice so that speaking is more comfortable for him.
Some children need to learn to communicate without saying words. If your child is non-verbal and is unlikely to be able to speak, your SLP will work with your family to find an alternative means of communication. For some children, this means learning to sign; for others, it might involve assistive technology such as a touch-screen communication device.
Regardless of your child’s speech and language needs, Carolina Pediatric Therapy Speech Therapist are committed to helping bridge the gap between understanding and expression. If you’re ready to schedule a speech and language evaluation for your child or just want more information about our services, give us a call today at 828.670.8056.
Could Your Child Benefit from Speech and Language Therapy?
April Fox, Staff Writer
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