Speech Matters

Speech Matters June 2010

Will my Child Outgrow a Speech Problem? Speech Matters-June 2010

By Cheryl D. Lindsay, M.S. SLP

As a parent you may be wondering if your child’s speech is developing normally. Similar to other areas of early childhood development, there are also speech and language milestones. These act as general guidelines to help you consider whether or not your child’s speech is on the right track.

 Below is a brief outline, giving you a range of speech sound development. It is important to remember that there are always individual differences concerning which sound(s) your child will develop, and when.  The beginning of each range shows when the sound may begin to develop, and the end of the range shows when your child should be able to say the sound correctly. (Source: Helping Kids Discover and Develop Language (Angus, Cahalan, Chenette & Pinnau Emrich).

 1-3 years    /p,m,h,n,w,b/

 2-4 years   /k,g,d,f,y,ng/

 3-6 years    /r,l/

4-7 years    /ch, sh, z, j/

 5-8 years    /th, zh/

When your child is learning to speak, they may make sound errors along the way. Some errors are quite normal and expected. Common errors include saying “w” for “r” (wabbit for rabbit) and “d” for “th” (dat for that). Errors like these can become a concern when they persist as your child gets older.

 If you are concerned that your child is not saying the sounds that would be expected for his/her age, it is recommended that you first have your child’s hearing assessed. An audiologist is able to test your child’s hearing and tell you whether or not their hearing is within the normal range. The audiologist may recommend next steps for your child, if there is an issue with their hearing. As a parent, you can book an appointment with the audiologist yourself, since a referral from your family doctor is not necessary.

 After the hearing test, if you are still concerned with your child’s speech development, it is recommended that you contact a speech-language pathologist (S-LP).

 Some children will outgrow their speech sound error(s) but some will need speech therapy to help them say their sounds correctly. An S-LP assesses and decides whether or not the speech sound(s) may develop on their own, or if speech therapy is necessary.

 As a parent, there a few things you can do to help your child learn to say their speech sounds. You can model how to say the sound correctly by repeating the word or phrase back to your child, as in, “Yes, that car is red”. You can also ask your child to repeat the word or phrase by asking, “Is it lellow or yellow?” This will help your child learn how to hear the differences between the sound that they are saying and the correct sound.

Speech Matters-April 2010

By Cheryl D. Lindsay, M.S. SLP

 Enriching lives by improving communication skills is the overall goal of professionals helping those with speech, language and hearing issues. In Canada, 10% of the population has a problem with one or all of these. (Source: www.caslpa.ca)

 Speech-language pathologists, and their supportive personnel work in a variety of settings to meet the needs of their clients.  Some of these settings include private practice, schools and preschools, hospitals, health units, and research centres.

 Speech-language pathologists are an integral part of a health care team. Their work in various settings and with many unique clients, brings them together with physicians, psychologists, teachers, occupational therapists and physical therapists.  This cooperation and communication ensures that the patient’s best interests are put first when it comes to supporting development and disorders of speech.

 Communication disorders can be experienced by adults as well as children. Speech-language pathologists, also commonly referred to as “speech therapists”, can diagnose and treat articulation disorders, voice problems, disfluency, language difficulties and swallowing issues. Adults may experience some of these problems as a result of a head injury or stroke.

 An articulation disorder refers to difficulty producing sounds. Someone with an articulation disorder may substitute /t/ for /k/ and therefore, may say /tite/ but mean to say /kite/. Another common substitution is /w/ for /r/, so that the word /rat/ sounds like /wat/. Articulation disorders may include substitutions as above, or omissions or distortions of sounds.

 Voice problems may present as difficulties with hoarseness, pitch or volume and can be the result of vocal cord injury, dysfunction or disease.

 Disfluency, more commonly known as stuttering, can be identified as hesitations, syllable or word repetitions or restarts. Childhood disfluency differs from disfluency in adulthood.  Children often outgrow disfluency but it can sometimes result in long term stuttering.  Stuttering may not onset until adulthood.

 In general, language disorders can be categorized as either receptive or expressive. Receptive disorders refer to problems understanding or processing what is heard. Expressive disorders include problems putting words together in speech, in an appropriate form, so that thoughts are verbalized in a way that listeners can understand.  

 Speech-language pathologists can also assist people who have problems with swallowing and eating.  These problems can be the result of congenital or acquired diseases or disorders.

 In addition to assessments and therapy, research, public education and public awareness are also very important aspects of the professional mandate of speech-language pathologists. Over the next several months, this column will offer information on a number of different speech matters.

(Next Month: “Is it true that my child will outgrow a speech problem?”)

Speech Matters

The Office of Cheryl D. Lindsay has started a monthly column in the Hanover Post called Speech Matters. Our goal for the column is to educate the local and surrounding areas about speech and language. Check out our columns on the site and look for upcoming columns in the Hanover Post.


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