A speech therapist is a person who provides speech therapy to patients or individuals. Speech therapy is the process of providing treatment for an individual’s speech and vocal capabilities. These personnel assess, conclude and treat – speech, swallowing, communication and language problems in an affected user, with an aim to restore their capabilities.
Speech therapy also extends to providing assistance for people who have trouble swallowing food due to the irregular or problematic contraction of the throat. They may work with doctors and nurses to recommend the best course of action or therapy sessions for the user.
When a child is growing up, it is important to observe the child and look for signs of speech impairment. If a child has speech impairment and it is unobserved, it might prove to be a problem for the child in the future. Here are 5 early signs that indicate your child might need help from a speech therapist:
A lack of facial expressions
While a lack of facial expressions do not immediately denote that an individual has a speech disorder or speech impairment, it qualifies as a red flag – one that parents should check on. If your child does not interact socially or show much facial expressions regardless of any environment and people surrounding him, it could be because the child has speech impairment. In this case, it is best to consult a speech therapist so that the therapist can ascertain and evaluate the child’s condition.
Little to no conversation
If your child is physically active, joins children playing games but does not speak much, it could also mean that your child might have speech impairment. It shows that your child is still alright with regards to his/her physical and mental wellbeing, social-able with peers but does not speak much. There is a difference between being shy and having a speech disorder or impairment. Being shy will extend to your child’s actions – he may not want to play with friends. If your child plays with friends yet hold little to no conversation, he may need to get the attention of a speech therapist.
Stuttering, or stammering, is a speech disorder. In stuttering, the child repeats words and trips on words. Stuttering is common, but most children outgrow it. Children do stutter when they are nervous – in this case, it is normal as long as the child does not stutter all the time. If your child stutters and stammers daily regardless of any occasion, it is best to consult a speech therapist.
Able to write well but is unable to speak well
Children should be able to piece together and speak short sentences by the age of four. Provided that your child has been educated and taught adequately. By the age of four, children should also be speaking up often. If your child writes well (is able to write short sentences) but is unable to speak well, it may also point to a speech impairment. It is thus recommended to consult a speech therapist.
If a child still speaks incoherently at the age of 3 or 4, it might point to a speech disorder. A parent can take note if the child is able to speak and pronounce specific words and vowels, and if the child is unable to do so after many days, it may be time to consult a speech therapist as speaking incoherently is a possible sign of a speech disorder.