Speech Disorder in Children: Causes and Treatment

In the case of a speech disorder, either the flow of speech or the motor skills of your child is impaired. The most well-known speech disorder is stuttering. Speech therapy can help your child get their speech disorder under control. Read here what you should know about it.

What is a speech disorder?

People who suffer from a speech disorder are unable to form certain speech sounds correctly and fluently. Unlike people with a speech disorder , people with a speech disorder can understand, read and write language perfectly and have no trouble finding the right words. The problem lies in the articulation – the pronunciation or formation of speech sounds. In the case of speech disorders, a distinction is made between impairments in the flow of speech and disorders in the motor skills of speech.

What types of speech disorders are there?

Speech disorders are divided into two categories:

If the flow of speech is disturbed, the flow of speech is interrupted by pauses, repetitions and insertions. With this speech disorder, the individual sounds can be formed correctly, but the affected child is unable to string them together fluently when speaking. These disorders include:

  • Stuttering : Your child often repeats single words, syllables or letters. For example, the police becomes “Pppppolizei”. Learn more about stuttering in our post Stuttering in Children .
  • Rumble : Your child speaks slurred and indistinctly. It often overturns in its rate of speech and swallows individual letters or syllables. The front door becomes a hat door.
  • Logophobia : Logophobia is a psychological language disorder that affects the flow of speech. Those affected have a strong fear of speaking. Logophobia can occur as a separate condition or as a component of a language or speech disorder, such as stuttering.
  • Mutism : With mutism, your child won’t talk when he could, which is usually due to a social phobia or fear of speaking. You can find out more about this in our article “ Mutism ”.

In the case of speech motor disorders , some sounds cannot be pronounced correctly or at all due to physical or mental impairments. With this type of speech disorder, a distinction is made between:

  • Dysarthria : In dysarthria, the functions of breathing or articulation organs such as the lips, tongue, jaw or palate are disturbed. The speech disorder manifests itself in a deformed to incomprehensible sounding pronunciation.
  • Dyslalia : In the case of dyslalia , your child has a wrong pronunciation or uses sounds incorrectly. Chocolate becomes Totolade or the stairs become Keppe. Such false sounds are completely normal up to kindergarten age, because the correct pronunciation first has to be practiced. But by the time your child is about four years old, they should be able to correctly form all of the sounds in their native language. Otherwise you may have a speech disorder.
  • Dysglossia : Dysglossia is a speech disorder that occurs as a result of an organic change in the organs of articulation, such as the lips, tongue, jaw or palate. Those affected have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds. Depending on the extent, your pronunciation is slurred and the speed of your speech is reduced.
  • Speech apraxia : Due to damage in the brain, the movements of the articulation organs can no longer be planned and carried out correctly in the case of speech apraxia, although all organs and muscles are intact. Those affected by this speech disorder have a slurred pronunciation and one can observe veritable searching movements of the tongue because it is trying to find the right place for sound formation.

Causes of a speech disorder

The causes of a speech disorder can be very different. There is still a great need for research in this area. The following can be possible triggers for a speech disorder:

  • Mental or physical developmental disabilities
  • mental or physical disabilities, such as Down syndrome
  • sensory impairments , such as hearing impairments
  • Brain damage, for example due to craniocerebral trauma, brain tumors or brain surgery
  • Brain maturation disorders or genetic disorders in the brain
  • Congenital malformations, such as cleft lip and palate
  • Paralysis or injury to the organs needed to speak, such as the lips, palate, throat, teeth, etc.
  • Psychological factors such as fears

treatment of a speech disorder

A speech disorder is usually treated by a speech therapist in individual therapy. Parallel to the treatment of your child, parental counseling is usually carried out. Your cooperation is important because you can serve as a speech model for your child and you can carry out many exercises to treat the speech disorder at home.

The logopedic therapy of the speech disorder should start as early as possible so that it achieves good results. Such a treatment trains, among other things, your child’s perception, breathing, posture, speech and swallowing motor skills, the formation of sounds, the flow of speech and the ability to communicate. A therapy session usually lasts 45 minutes. How often and for how long your child has to go to the speech therapist because of the speech disorder depends on your child’s needs and the type of therapy.

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