Dealing with children is a bit of a challenge, let alone children with speech disorders. It could be more challenging as children with speech and language disorders may find it difficult to express themselves. Parents, guardians and teachers should know the best way to deal with children with common speech disorders. While they may not tell you their struggles, they are greatly affected when they are teased by their peers.
A lot of children have motor speech disorders that they usually carry through adulthood. Some of these speech disorders in children may be remedied with great parental support through speech therapy. Speech therapy requires the help of a therapist that guides a child through various exercises to strengthen and improve the muscles in the throat as well as the face. These muscles are important in having normal speech.
Whether you are a parent, a guardian or a teacher to a child with speech disorder, you must know the proper way to deal with him. They need more understanding, time, patience and love. Below are some of the ways you can best deal with children with speech disorders.
1. Be More Observant And See The Changes That Happen To Your Child’s Speech Development.
As a parent, you will be the first to notice if your child is suffering from a speech disorder. If it is your first child, you will know the difference between your child’s development compared to that of other children. As young as a baby, your child can already show signs of speech and language disorders. And in which case, you must be a pro-active parent. Don’t wait until it is too late to remedy your child’s speech or language problem. You have to remember that there are cases which can still be helped and early detection is a factor for such. The signs to watch out for are the following:
• Your child doesn’t coo much or is not making any sounds when babies normally should.
• Your baby uttered his first word way too late compared to other babies his age. He may also miss some sounds.
• Many consonant and vowel sounds are not sounded when speaking.
• Speaks slowly and may syllabicate words in order to get them out correctly.
• Replaces the letters “s” and “z” with “th”.
• You may find it difficult to comprehend the words he speaks.
• He has weird jaw and facial muscles movement.
• Speaks with a nasal or stuffy sound to his voice.
• Often mumbles and seems to be afraid or hesitant to speak.
• Pronounces or reads a letter differently but with consistency.
• You notice an occasional stutter when your child speaks.
• Your child uses fillers when speaking, such as “uhms” and seems to grope for the next words to say when talking.
Upon noticing some of these signs, among many others, you must immediately consult a doctor. There are medical specialists who specialize in speech and language disorders. They are called speech language pathologists.
2. Consult A Specialist Who Can Help Your Child With Speech And Language Disorder.
The best cure is prevention. The sooner you address the problem, the more chances that it will be helped. Find a specialist who can help you understand what your child is going through. As a parent, you will also share the burden of your child’s disorder. You must be the first person to understand and facilitate his learning and growth. Find a specialist who:
• Has compassion to help children with the disorder.
• Is willing to educate and help you understand about various concepts related to your child’s condition.
• Has a good and proven track record of excellence and success in treating patients.
• Is easy to talk to and is patient. Patience is important as he will be dealing with children.
3. Communicate With Your Child.
Talk with your child constantly. This is a great exercise that will help improve his condition. It will also boost his confidence in talking. With it, you will better evaluate his condition. This is important when you consult with a specialist. Your child may hesitate to cooperate with his specialist in their initial meetings. You will be the specialist’s source of information. When your child can easily open up with you, it is also easier to evaluate his improvement when his specialist has done some tests and exercises or when he has undergone therapy.
4. Do Some Therapy Exercises With Your Child.
Once your child is under therapy, (depending on what his specialist has advised) you can help by doing some speech therapy exercises with him. Many of these exercises come in games to be interesting to the child. Make use of learning materials such as flashcards and colorful reading books. Hand puppet shows are also interesting. If you have determined where your child is having problems, for instance in pronouncing words with “s” and “z”, integrate an interesting game that also addresses the problem. For example, you can make him read words with such letters. Educational games are very effective. They are fun and at the same time, helpful in your child’s intellectual development.
5. Show Him You Care.
You should never make your child feel inadequate. Shower him with love, understanding and patience. Don’t be angry or raise your voice when he doesn’t do some exercises correctly. You must know that it is a process. He is special and needs more time than normal children do.