Two years old Mahir still does not talk. He says a few words, but in comparison to his peers, he is way behind. He cannot put whole sentences together unlike his friends of the same age. His parents hope that he will catch up and so postponed seeking professional advice. They think that some kids are early walkers and some are early talkers.
This scenario is common among parents of kids who are slow to speak. Knowing what is normal and what is not in speech and language development can help you figure out if you should be concerned or if your child is right on schedule.
A reasonable rule is that if children have not said their first words by one year and first sentences by two years of age, they should be tested by speech pathologist. The important years for the language development are between 1½ and 4½. There is very rapid language development during these three years.
People of all ages can suffer from speech disorders. Some people can speak but is unclear and people cannot understand them. Some people cannot speak at all. They need an alternative method of communication. They use of sign language. There are lots of such patients in our country. Most of the problems can be minimised.
Most children with speech delays have a developmental language disorders (DLD) with an expressive delay and will meet normal age appropriate visual language skills (recognising parents, recognising objects, responding to facial expressions, following commands that are accompanied with a gesture indicating what you want done, pointing to desired objects, etc).
Other causes include hearing loss, attentions problem, IQ and emotional problem, development delay, parental illness, child illness, prematurity, birth injury, hereditary.
Articulation is deviant because of structural abnormalities. These difficulties may be present because of peripheral nerve involvements of the face, lips, tongue and palate or because of central involvement.
Stammering is a psychological difficulty. Usually stammering or stuttering develops in early childhood. Psychotherapy and breathing exercise need to these patients.
Personality, emotions and psychological problem are found to be contributory or primary causes of voice disorders. There are many different causes of voice disorders. Some of these are- smoking, air conditioning, smog, chlorine water, food, allergies, sinusitis, infection tonsils, hormones, tensions, pregnancy, menopause, respiratory infection, colds, coughing, shouting, talking above or vocal misuse.
Stroke is caused by damage to the language centers of the bran, accidental injury, a brain tumour, a brain infection and neurological problems.
Counselling, psychotherapy, humming and breathing exercise, yawning, whistling, articulatory drills and special facilities for speech delay and stroke patients. The speech therapist will decide what is best for your child.
Md Humayun Kabir
Source: The Daily Star, July 04, 2009