Communication is the foundation of human interaction as it facilitates connections and assists in sharing our emotions and thoughts. Children learn to communicate with caregivers and parents in many ways through emotions and actions. Communication is also pivotal for a child’s cognitive and emotional development, aiding in understanding the world.
However, certain neurological conditions, genetic predispositions, premature birth, hearing impairments, environmental factors, and developmental delays might limit their ability to express emotions and thoughts through language. Language and speech impairment can also result from early childhood illnesses that impact the ability of a child to use language effectively.
Understanding Language and Speech Disorders in Children
Speech disorders can impact the ability of children to form specific words and sounds while finding it difficult to make sentences flow smoothly due to stuttering, stammering, apraxia, and dysarthria. Many schools do tests to check if students face language disorders from an early age. Special support through therapy sessions for kids in NY helps children learn to communicate through a blend of verbal and non-verbal cues.
Children can develop language delay and disorders such as Aphasia, where they find it challenging to speak parts of language due to brain injuries. Speech and language disorders often result in learning disorders where a child can face difficulty reading and writing, making them feel frustrated and leading to learning withdrawal. Some common language and learning disorders in children include:
- Disfluency – interruptions in the flow of speech, often characterized by hesitations, prolongations, repetitions, or blocks in sounds or words.
- Aphasia – a language disorder caused by brain injury or stroke, impairing the ability to understand and express language through speech, writing, or comprehension.
- Phonological disorders – cause sound errors and difficulties in producing speech sounds consistently and accurately.
- Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders – interference with average growth and development of the muscles and bones of the face and mouth used for talking, breathing, and eating.
- Selective Mutism – an anxiety disorder where children consistently fail to verbally communicate in specific social situations due to shyness or social anxiety.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder – neurodevelopmental condition with challenges in social communication, alongside repetitive behaviours, sensory sensitivities, and restricted interests, repetitive behaviours.
Treating Speech and Language Disorders
Speech-language disorders are visible in children as they reach first grade, requiring special education support from caregivers and educators. The Speak Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) service by Mindnasium can assist in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating language disorders and swallowing difficulties in children.
The primary goal of Mindnasium’s Speak Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) therapy sessions for kids in NY is to help children overcome speech, language, swallowing, and communication challenges. Here’s a breakdown of how SLP therapy sessions can treat language disorders:
- Initial Assessment – observing speech patterns, vocal quality, oral motor skills, and language comprehension to assess if a child has any language and speech disorders.
- In-depth evaluation – the Expressive Vocabulary Test (EVT), the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation or the Templin-Darley Test, Preschool Language Scales (PLS) and the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF) helps understand a child’s strength and weakness to develop a holistic treatment plan.
- Treatment – a therapy plan with goal tracking to measure performance over time helps assess the success of SLP services. The speech-language pathologist will develop an individualized therapy plan to improve speech articulation, voice quality, language comprehension and expression, cognitive-communication skills, fluency, and swallowing abilities. Various technologies such as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, voice analysis tools, activities, and games are used to treat disorders.
- Communication Enhancements – picture boards, sign language, and speech-generating devices facilitate communication, improving social communication, non-verbal communication abilities, and pragmatic language skills.
Treatment for speech and language disorders can take a few months to years, depending on the severity of language impairment. Therapy sessions are often in-person or conducted through video conferencing weekly or bi-weekly. Regular assessments are used to assess the effectiveness of therapy, and adjustments are made based on the ability of a child’s vocal improvements.
Early detection and treatment of speech and language disorders are crucial to minimise cognitive and learning difficulties. Mindnasium’s Speak program is tailored to address speech and language impediments while fostering confidence and nurturing children’s communicative abilities. The ability to communicate effectively can empower children to fulfil their potential.