Speech and language are important milestones in child development. Not only do they play a large role in everyday life making them essential to daily functioning, but they are a means of communicating with parents and expressing basic needs. Unfortunately, there are cases where a child will present with delayed speech or a speech and language impairment. This can be detrimental to their development, including psychological and emotional development. This is the main reason why speech and language impairments are covered under the IDEA Act. Together with a long term care planning attorney and a speech pathologist, you will create a plan to make sure that your child develops language.
1. Articulation Disorder
An articulation disorder is an impairment where the child has difficulty forming certain sounds correctly. The sounds may be omitted or improperly formed during speech resulting in the child using substitute sounds, such as “wabbit” instead of “rabbit”. Young children typically display articulation issues when learning to speak, but will often pass this phase by a certain age. However, if the difficulty continues to persist beyond a specific developmental age, it is possible that they are experiencing an articulation disorder.
2. Apraxia Of Speech
Apraxia of speech is a communication disorder that affects the programming system for speech production. Speech production in early childhood can be difficult, particularly regarding sequencing and word formation. An individual experiencing this impairment may know what they want to say, but a disruption in the programming system disallows the muscle to move correctly and the sound is produced. This leads to articulation errors, intonation difficulties, rhythm errors and speaking stress. Apraxia of speech can be identified in childhood or as a result of brain injury during adulthood or childhood.
One of the most well-known speech impairments is stuttering. Stuttering occurs when speech is interrupted by prolonged sounds, hesitations before words, and involuntary repetitions of words or sentences. This can be a developmental impairment, but it can also be acquired due to brain injury. No direct link has been discovered for stuttering; however, evidence shows that children with relatives who stutter are at higher risk of stuttering.
It should be noted that stuttering is not a difficulty in sound production, but a result of speech stress and nervousness to talk. The severity of the stutter will vary dependent on the speaker and their current level of anxiety.
4. Fragile X Syndrome
Fragile X Syndrome or FXS is a genetic disorder that is a common cause for many inherited intellectual disabilities in males, particularly autism. FXS will also affect females, but their symptoms tend to be milder than the male counterparts.
The speech and language impairment associated with FXS include repetition of words and phrases, difficulties with the pragmatics of speech, and overall cluttered speaking. The severity of the condition will differ according to the individual’s FXS.