What is Speech Sound Disorder?
There is a range of ages when children should be producing the different sounds correctly. A speech disorder or articulation difficulties occur when it is difficult to understand the child as they are not clear enough when they speak and/ or they are unable to produce certain sounds clearly by the expected age. Some children may continue making mistakes in producing certain speech sounds after they reach a certain age and that is when speech therapy should be sought.
What causes Speech Sound Disorder?
Some of the common causes to speech disorders are:
- Hearing Impairment
- Structural Problems (eg. tongue tie, cleft lip)
- Reduced Muscle Strength
What are some signs or symptoms of a Speech Sound Disorder?
- Your child’s teacher/ family members do not understand much of what the child is saying
- It is more difficult to understand your child as compared to his/ her peers at the same age
- He is unable to produce some of the sounds that he should be able to produce at a particular age
How can we help?
We will do an oro- motor assessment to look into the movements of the articulators: lips, tongue, jaw to determine the strength, range and rate of the muscles. Following that we will do an assessment to look more in- depth in the sounds that your child may have difficulty producing.
We will then choose the most appropriate sounds to target based on the child’s age and results of the assessment after discussion with their parents. Thereafter we will use fun activities to help motivate the child to learn through play.
New research data revealed that there is a significant increase in children diagnosed with speech and language delays or disorders in the recent years. We want to encourage parents to avoid the 'wait and see' approach that is all too common with speech and language disorders. The earlier we reach a child, the more successful, the less expensive, and the shorter the course of treatment. By delaying an assessment and/or treatment to see if a child outgrows a potential disorder, parents may be missing a key window of opportunity. This is why it is important for parents to educate themselves about the signs and seek an assessment from a speech therapist if they have any concern.