Delayed speech in children- What can be done
Parents are usually the first to notice that their child is not talking at the same rate as same aged children and will describe their child as ‘not talking,’ ‘a late talker,’ or ‘not speaking yet.’
Every child develops at his or her own pace. But if your child doesn’t talk as much as most children of the same age, the problem may be speech delay. Your doctor may think your child has speech delay if he or she isn’t able to do these things:
and Say simple words (such as “mama, papa”) either clearly or unclearly by 12 to 15 months of age
and Understand simple words (such as “no” or “stop”) by 18 months of age
and Talk in short sentences by 3 years of age
and Tell a simple story at 4 to 5 years of age
Causes of speech delay?
Speech delay occurs in up to 10 percent of children. The most common causes of speech delay include:
and Hearing loss
and Slow development
and Mental retardation
and Psychosocial deprivation (the child doesn’t spend enough time talking with adults)
and Autism (a developmental disorder)
and Cerebral palsy (a movement disorder caused by brain damage)
and Tongue tie
What can be done?
Your child may not need any treatment. Some children just take more time to start talking. The way your doctor might treat your child depends on the cause of the speech delay. Your doctor will tell you the cause of your child’s problem and explain any treatments that might fix the problem or make it better.
A speech and language pathologist might be helpful in making treatment plans. This person can show you how to help your child talk more and speak better and also can teach your child how to listen or how to lip read.
Other health care workers who may be able to help you and your child include: an ENT surgeon and audiologist or a psychologist or an occupational therapist or a social worker.
Your family doctor will refer you to the following specialist-
Hearing loss – refer to ENT specialist / hearing aid fitting.
All children prior to being referred to the special educator for evaluation have to be evaluated for hearing by an objective test [OAE / Threshold BERA]. As far as possible all challenged children should be habilitated / trained in a normal school inclusive education setting. Specialized school should be for the very bad cases only.