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Facts, Reasons and Practices if your child has Speech Delay – Alalia

Speech delay or Alalia refers to a condition where the child has difficulty using the lungs, vocal chords, mouth, tongue or teeth to produce sounds or speech. This condition causes the child to be slow in picking up words and also lack the ability to shape the mouth and tongue to produce normal speech. At Milestone Therapy Group, we’re committed to helping children affected by Speech Delay (Alalia) and  other speech disorders through licensed and certified speech therapists with years of successful treatment experience. Here’s a short compilation of facts and practices that will help you understand the problem of Speech Delay and take the right steps towards helping your child handle this speech disorder. 

The signs

*Absence of usual sounds by the age of 15 months 

*No talking by the age of 2 years 

*Inability to speak short sentences by 3 years 

*Difficulty putting words in a sentence 

*Poor articulation 

*Showing preference to gesticulation over verbalization

*Displaying difficulty in imitating sounds and actions

*Inability to follow simple directions 

The causes 

Some factors that may bring about speech delay in a child include:

*Physical abnormality in the mouth such as a deformed frenulum, lips, or palate

* Oral-motor dysfunction, which is a lack or delay in the area of the brain where speech is formed and communicated to the mouth and tongue

*Prenatal traumas (before birth)

*Perinatal traumas (immediately before or after birth)

*Difficult deliveries

*Hearing loss

*Viral and infectious diseases 

*Brain traumas in the post-natal period (after birth)

Ways to help a child with speech delay

*Use flashcards or labels 

Using flashcards to label objects around your home is a great way to help your child identify things and speak out these words. The more your child speaks and repeats new words, the better he or she will get at speech abilities. 

*Turn play time into learning time

Kids are receptive to learning both verbal and non-verbal interactions when they play. Verbalizing play actions like ‘catch the ball’ or ‘give me the plane’ will help your child learn and speak newer words and phrases. 

*Keep it short and simple

Make sure that the words you speak with your child are short, simple and audible. This will help your child connect better with you, which in turn will impact the way your child learns to emulate your speech and language. 

*Use everyday situations

Try and talk to your child as much as possible about the things your child sees and hears through the day. For example, speak out the names of things that you purchase, the foods you prepare, the objects around your home as you do your cleaning routine and so on. 

*Read to your child

Use books, preferably the kind that’ll allow you to point and name pictures for your child to understand and pick up. 

The practices listed above may work to an extent in helping your child cope better with the problem of Speech Delay (Alalia). However, we recommend you book a consultation with a licensed and certified speech therapist to give your child the best chance of overcoming this speech disorder. At Milestone Therapy Group, we are passionately dedicated to helping children with Speech and Language Delay and other speech disorders find their path to normal and healthy childhoods. Our family of licensed and certified speech therapists has grown over the years and so has the number of children getting successfully treated under our caring and expert watch. Do feel free to speak with us and let’s get started helping your child take those first steps towards speaking without difficulties. 

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5 most common types of speech and language disorders

The ability of speech enables us to interact with the world around us; learn from it, bond with it, contribute to it and be a part of it. It’s an ability that’s programmed to develop naturally within us and yet, in some children, this ability doesn’t progress as well as it’s expected to. Speech disorders are common in today’s world and 1 in 12 kids and teens in the US are affected by the disability to make fluent communication. At Milestone Therapy Group, we’re committed to helping children affected by varying types of speech disorders through licensed and certified speech therapists with considerable experience in handling speech disabilities. Here’s a short compilation of the most common speech disorders afflicting children in America today.

1.

Stuttering or Stammering

This is perhaps the easiest to spot among a range of speech disorders. And fortunately, also the  least worrisome. Close to 10% of American children get affected by stuttering at some point, between the ages of 3 and 6 years. The good news is, a large percentage of these children are cured of this speech disorder by the time they turn into adults. But yes, both children and parents do have to go through the phase of social awkwardness, the extent of which would vary from child to child.

The watch-outs: *Repetition of consonants like K, G or T *Inclusion of ‘uh’ or ‘um’ a bit too frequently into sentences *Hesitation or pause before speaking *Stretching of certain spoken words *Excessive eye blinking *Lip tremors *Tension in the face and upper body *Stress in the voice

2.

Apraxia of Speech

Have you ever wondered how every time you communicate, your speech occurs at virtually the same time as your thoughts? It’s like the connection between your brain and mouth is instantaneous. This feat of human engineering  is made possible by the neural pathway between the brain and your speech muscles. In some children however, this neural bridge loses its functionality and as  a result, the messages of the brain do not get relayed to the muscles that ultimately convert these signals into full and proper speech. So, the child knows what to speak but is unable to convert his or her thoughts, emotions and experiences into words and sentences.

The watch-outs: *Different pronunciation of the same word every time *Shorter words spoken more clearly than longer ones *Stress on the wrong syllable or word *Distortion or change in sounds *Delayed language ability *Problems with reading, spelling & writing *Difficulty with fine motor skills.

3.

Dysarthria

Wake your child out of deep sleep and ask a question. Chances are you’ll get an answer that rolls out lazily or incoherently off the child’s tongue. But this isn’t Dysarthria, it’s just a case of broken sleep. Dysarthria involves something a lot more serious – muscle or nerve damage to the muscles that control the process of speaking, namely the diaphragm, lips, tongue and vocal chords. Conditions for Dysarthria can begin as early as the womb stage or shortly after birth, owing to conditions such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.

The watch-outs: *Slurred or slow speech *Speaking either too soft or too loud *Rapid incomprehensible speech *Nasal, raspy or strained voice *Uneven or abnormal rhythm of speech *Uneven speech volume *Difficulty moving either the tongue or facial muscles.

4.

Lisping

Another common type of disorder that can be easily recognized is lisping. To explain this condition with an example, the word ‘lisp’ itself would be pronounced as ‘lithp’ by the affected child. This disorder is characterized by the inability to correctly pronounce the sounds of letters like ‘s’ or ‘z’, known as sibilant consonants. In fact, a child with a lisping disorder would substitute the sibilant consonants with a ‘th’. Other sounds that get affected include sh, l, r and ch. The probable causes of lisping range from overuse of pacifiers to thumb sucking to prolonged bottle feeding to structural irregularities of the tongue, just to name a few. Treatment for lisping includes pronunciation training, speech muscle strengthening and other specialized techniques.

5.

Speech Delay – Alalia

A child’s first spoken word is something every parent eagerly waits to experience. From ‘mama’ to ‘dada’, these first words also indicate that the child’s development is taking place at the appropriate pace. Now, if speech development proceeds normally, a child should be speaking 3 to 5 words by the time he or she is a year old and 15 to 20 words by 15 months of age. Any lesser means the child is suffering from speech delay, also referred to as Alalia. Some factors that may bring about speech delay in a child include prenatal traumas (before birth), perinatal traumas (immediately before or after birth), difficult deliveries, hearing loss, viral and infectious diseases and brain traumas in the postnatal period (after birth).

The watch-outs: *Absence of usual babbling by the age of 15 months *No talking by the age of 2 years *Inability to speak short sentences by 3 years *Difficulty putting words in a sentence *Poor articulation

If you have a child who exhibits any of the above-mentioned speech disorders, you need to begin speech therapy as soon as possible. At Milestone Therapy Group, we come with a fully certified and vastly experienced team of speech therapy professionals, a culture of healing that involves the fun-play approach and above all, the drive to give your child a better and happier childhood. So, schedule a call with us at the soonest and do give us the opportunity to help your child overcome his or her challenges on the path to a happier and better life.

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Symptoms, Causes and Ways to help treat your child’s Apraxia disorder.

This speech disorder is characterized by the child’s disability to convert thoughts, emotions and needs into words and sentences. A child with an AOS disorder knows what to say but has trouble moving the lips, jaw or tongue in the proper way to say it. At Milestone Therapy Group, we’re passionately driven to helping children affected by Apraxia of Speech (AOS) and other speech disorders through licensed and certified speech therapists with years of successful treatment experience. Here’s a short compilation of facts and practices that will help you understand the problem of Apraxia and take the right steps towards helping your child handle this speech disorder.

The signs

*Different pronunciation of the same word every time

*Shorter words spoken more clearly than longer ones

*Stress on the wrong syllable or word

*Distortion or change in sounds

*Delayed language ability

*Problems with reading, spelling & writing

*Difficulty with fine motor skills

The causes

Apraxia of Speech may have any of the following causes.

Brain injury: It may be the result of neurological conditions such as an injury, stroke or infections.

Genetic disorder: Apraxia may also result due to a genetic disorder, syndrome or metabolic condition.

Ways to help reduce Apraxia in children

*Use Alternative or Augmentative Communication (AAC)

One way to help your child improve consistency of communication is by using gestures, sign language, pictures or even a communication device. Helping your child find more means to communicate will bring down anxiety and frustration and improve the way he or she communicates.

*Turn your questions into comments

When a child finds it hard to speak or communicate, asking too many questions may feel demanding for the child and lead to anxiety and possibly, even a breakdown. One way to tackle this challenge is to turn your question into a comment. For example, instead of asking “What is that?” you could state “That is a dog” or instead of “What color is your shirt?” say “You’re wearing a green shirt today!”.

*Avoid the wrong times to communicate

Do not attempt to make your child communicate when he or she is in a tired or emotional state. At such times, use alternate ways of communication like gesturing to interact with your child, instead of making your child feel forced to speak.

*Get your child in a ready state to learn

You could help your child feel more excited or ready to learn new things by ensuring proper sleep, play and rest routines. Children feel calmer when they get used to routines that they like and so making learning feel like a part of an interesting routine will help your child approach communication with a more open attitude and a less anxious mind.

While the practices stated above may help bring about some degree of change or improvement, you would still need to visit a qualified and experienced speech therapy expert to help your child effectively and permanently overcome the problem of Apraxia of Speech. At Milestone Therapy Group, we came into existence with the sole purpose of helping children with AOS and other types of speech disorders find their path to normal and healthy childhoods. Our family of licensed and certified speech therapists has grown over the years and so has the number of children getting successfully treated under our caring and expert watch. Do feel free to book a consultation with us and let’s get started helping your child take those first steps towards speaking without challenges.

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What you need to know if your child has a stuttering disorder.

Stuttering is a common problem among young children who’re learning and developing their speech and language abilities. Children with this speech problem find it hard to speak smoothly in any kind of environment. The first signs of stuttering may appear when a child is about 18 – 24 months old and may either stop by the time the child reaches 5 years of age, or continue into adulthood. At Milestone Therapy Group, we’re committed to helping children affected by stuttering through licensed and certified speech therapists with considerable experience in handling a range of speech disabilities. Here’s a short compilation of facts and practices that will help you understand the problem of stuttering and take the right steps towards helping your child overcome this speech disorder.

The signs

*Difficulty saying a word, phrase or sentence

*Prolonging a word or sounds within a word

*Repetition of certain sounds, syllables or words

*Addition of words like ‘um’ in sentences

*Tension in the face or upper body while speaking

*Frequent blinking of eyes

*Lip tremors

*Jerking of head, clenching of the fists

The causes

Stuttering may be caused by any of the following factors:

Family history: A child who has a family member with a stuttering problem is likely to inherit the same abnormality.

Brain variations: Children who stutter may have slight differences in the way their brains function during speech.

Speech motor control abnormalities: Anomalies in speech motor control involving timing, sensory and motor coordination could be a factor too. Brain injury or disorders: Factors like a stroke, traumatic injury or disorders can cause the child’s speech to be slow, have pauses or repeated sounds.

Ways to help reduce your child’s stuttering

*Speak with your child at a slower than normal speed

When you speak slowly, your speech pattern will help your child to learn what a more fluent and smoother way of speaking sounds like. Another benefit is, your child will feel less rushed and realize he/she can take more time to respond which will help him/her be more fluent. 

*Lower the demands on your child

A child with a stuttering problem may feel stressed or anxious on being expected to answer too many questions. In fact, the pressure may actually end up worsening his or her stutter. A better strategy would be to allow your child to speak at his or her own pace. 

*Listen more to your child

Children who stutter feel a whole lot better knowing they have someone who cares and is around to patiently hear what they wish to say. Dedicating quality listening time for your child everyday can help make a significant difference in his or her speech attitude and ability.

*Be on your child’s side 

Children who stutter are sensitive to the comments that they hear, when struggling to get their words right. If you see your child stutter, show that you understand with a “That was a difficult word to say!” kind of comment or perhaps “Don’t worry, let’s try saying that again!” Positive verbal responses from you will impact the way your child deals with his or her speech issue. 

Please note, the above mentioned strategies are commonly recommended practices that may help you lessen the symptoms of stuttering in your child, but these cannot be counted on to deliver the efficacy and results that you could expect with a licensed and certified speech therapist. At Milestone Therapy Group, we came into existence with the sole purpose of helping children with stuttering and other types of speech disorders find their path to normal and healthy childhoods. Our family of licensed and certified speech therapists has grown over the years and so has the number of children getting successfully treated under our caring and expert watch. Do feel free to book a consultation with us and let’s get started helping your child take those first steps towards speaking without difficulties.