Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

Handling Your Child's Speech Impediment: What You Should Know

by Stephen Silva

When you become a parent, your first instinct and concern is to protect them from any illness or ailment that will affect or harm them as they grow and make their way through the world. In spite of all of your efforts, some conditions cannot be prevented no matter how hard you try. As your child begins to develop their speech and communication skills, they will fumble through difficult sounds and words. However, as they progress, you may begin to notice that they have a continued speech issue such as a lisp, stammer, stutter, or other speech impediment. To help your child overcome their speech difficulties, you should know what steps to take in their treatment and care. 

Do Not Discourage Your Child

The worst possible thing your could do for your child with a speech impediment is to speak to them in a discouraging, condescending, or mocking tone. While pronouncing words properly or getting through a sentence without stuttering is easy for you, that does not mean you should remind your child of how easy talking should be.

When your child feels stressed, judged, or emotionally distressed, their speech impediment will worsen causing them more frustration and embarrassment. Instead, be patient with your child.

Do not let your frustration show when you wait for them to get through whatever they are trying to say to you. This means you will have to be particularly aware of your body language and non-verbal behavior. Children are keen observers and will be able to sense if you are being disingenuous.

Go To An Audiologist

One common cause of a speech impediment in a developing child is actually difficulty hearing. After all, if your child cannot properly hear the words being spoken to them, they will inevitably have pronunciation difficulties as they try to piece the sounds together. 

A trip to the audiologist for a simple hearing test will help determine if this is the cause for your child's troubles. If it is a hearing problem, hearing aids or even cochlear implants can be used to correct their hearing disparity. Such steps will drastically improve their speech-language development. 

Contact A Speech Language Pathologist

Whether your child's speech impediment is caused by hearing difficulties or other factors, scheduling an appointment with speech language pathologist will help them to recover from their difficulties faster and more efficiently. A speech language pathologist will meet with your child to determine the type of speech impediment they have (mispronouncing certain letters, stammering, etc...) and will develop a plan of treatment.

Regular appointments with a speech language pathologist will help your child to train their brain and their facial muscles to pronounce words correctly, use strategies to overcome the mental and emotional triggers of speech problems, and develop proper communication skills. 

As you can see, there are several important steps to take to help your child handle their speech impediment. If you remain encouraging and help your child get proper treatment (from professionals such as Felix M. DiPalma, M.S.), they will overcome their speech troubles before you know it.