Thursday, January 25, 2018

How to Help Your Child Overcome a Speech Impediment

Children who struggle with their speech often do so as a result of physical disabilities, deformities, or psychological delays that alter how they form words when speaking. Not only can a speech impediment be very frustrating for a child, it can also be difficult for the parent to deal with, especially if their child becomes targeted by bullies or is the brunt of cruel jokes as a result, a situation which is all too common today. Here’s what you can do to help your child with this issue.

What is a Speech Impediment?

A speech impediment is anything which prevents an individual from speaking, or from producing normal speech. Common examples include stuttering, lisping, a cleft lip or palate, or the inability to produce specific words or sounds. Not only can these issues make it more difficult for yourself and others to understand what your child is trying to tell you, they can also be highly frustrating for the child – the harder they try to normally articulate what they have to say, the harder it can become for them. Certain causes of speech impediments, such as cleft palates, can be corrected with surgery. For other issues such as stuttering, speech therapy is usually the best way forward.

Be Patient:

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that a speech impediment is something that your child has no control over, therefore, utmost patience is required for dealing with this issue. Never pressure your child to try harder to speak normally if they are struggling; even children who attend regular speech therapy or have had surgery to correct an issue such as a cleft palate may take some time to finally begin speaking normally. It’s important to allow your child to take their time and be patient and gentle with them as they begin to learn more about their body and why the impediment exists.

Regular Practice:

For parents of children who are in regular speech therapy, you will probably have been given some exercises by the speech therapist to go through with your child. However, if you are wondering whether or not speech therapy will be the best option for your child then there are certain exercises that you may be able to try yourself beforehand to determine whether this is the best course of treatment to opt for. These include vocal chord exercises, learning to relax a stutter, slower, stretched speech and speech therapy sentences practice, all of which can be very useful in helping a child overcome a speech impediment.

Medical Attention:

Lastly, bear in mind that a speech impediment can be caused by any number of physical or psychological problems. If your child is showing little to no signs of improvement, then it’s important to have them checked by your doctor, who may refer them to a specialist to ensure that there is not a more serious underlying cause. For children who have been subject to bullying as a result of their speech impediment, it may be worth enrolling them in child therapy sessions to prevent mental health issues such as anxiety.

Does your child have a speech impediment? How do you help them overcome it? Let us know in the comments.

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