Nearly 1 in 12 American children have a disorder which relates to their voice, speech, or language. A large proportion of these children sit in more than one of these categories.
How can you tell if your child has an articulation disorder?
It can be hard to reach a conclusion yourself. Children’s language develops over time, and you shouldn’t expect a very young child to understand complex diction.
But as they grow older, the signs of their difficulty will become more apparent. There are also many reasons why a child might have an articulation disorder and struggle with their speech or language.
In this post, we’ll explain some of the common signs that your child has one of these disorders. We’ll also tell you what you can do to help.
Development Isn’t As Expected
First, we should emphasize that every child is different. Some are recognizing words or even speaking a few words by the time they’re nine months old.
Others won’t reach this stage until they’re closer to a year old. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your child. It doesn’t mean they’re a slow learner either.
Being a baby is a challenge, and listening and speaking are just one pair of skills out of hundreds. However, if by one year of age your child is barely speaking, they may be struggling to articulate themselves. They may need more practice to bring them up to speed, and encouraging them to talk can be helpful.
When children are very small, they “talk” by what’s known as babble. There are no recognizable words, but it’s a stage above the coo-ing sounds a baby makes.
One key sign of speech problems at this stage of development is a lack of consonant sounds in their babble. If everything they say is a string of vowels, this can be an early sign of an articulation disorder.
They Say the Wrong Sounds for Letters
It’s common for young children to say things like “wabbit” instead of “rabbit.” If you stop to think about it, you’ll notice the similarities in the “w” and “r” sounds yourself. So you can see why your child has become confused and developed a problem.
Most children can be taught the right way to say these words over time. However, if by around the age of three your child is still saying words that aren’t quite right, they may have an articulation disorder.
It’s absolutely possible to correct this problem while your child is still young. This will give them the best chance to be understood at school by their peers and successfully take part in group activities.
They Have a Lisp
Childhood lisps are a relatively common problem, and again they are not a reason to worry.
Lisps are defined by a person’s inability to properly say “s” or “z” sounds. Most commonly, people with a lisp substitute this with a “th” (as in the word “this”) sound instead.
A lisp is sometimes caused by a cleft palate. This is where lips and mouths do not form properly during pregnancy and requires surgery to correct. Cerebral palsy can also be a cause.
Speech therapy can help to teach your child the right way to pronounce words and correct their articulation disorders.
Older Children Are Very Quiet or Hard to Understand
Older children with articulation disorders might have realized there’s something “off” about their speech. Sadly, this might come because other children have teased them about it.
They may also have noticed that they can’t make the right sounds compared to other people. This inability means people struggle to understand them and often get the wrong idea about what they mean. This can be very frustrating for your child.
Either of these situations can really hurt their confidence and discourage them from speaking.
By the age of 5 or 6, you may find that you’re asking your child to repeat themselves because you don’t get the message the first time. Maybe other adults are finding it hard to have a simple conversation with them too.
Perhaps they’re growing up to be a very quiet or introverted person. That’s not a problem. But perhaps they’re also struggling with an articulation disorder.
It’s often hard to tell, which is why an expert opinion can be really valuable.
A silent or very quiet child who doesn’t seem to be listening or talking may not have an articulation disorder. They may be deaf, and this can also be quite hard to tell if your child is still very young.
You should take them for regular checkups and ask your doctor for tests if you suspect this.
Speech Therapy For Your Child
If you think your child has an articulation disorder and would benefit from speech therapy, we’re more than happy to help.
Our convenient online service means you don’t have to travel and commit to appointments in another town. Your child doesn’t have to sit in a stuffy office either! We hold teleconferences so that your child can take part in the therapy from the comfort of their own home.
We offer a free consultation to start you off. We do this so that we can talk to you and find out more about the problems your child is having. We’ll then discuss a detailed plan of action to solve the issues.
Please get in touch with us today. Our highly trained speech specialists can’t wait to meet your child and bring their speech up to speed.