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Speech Disorder in Children

Speech Disorder in Children

What is Articulation Disorder?

Articulation disorder, which means the deterioration of speech intelligibility as a result of incorrect production of speech sounds, is frequently seen in preschool and school age children.

Examples of articulation disorders include saying the /s/ sound with your tongue between your teeth, or saying /ğ/ or /y/ instead of not saying the /r/ sound.

Articulation disorders may be due to structural reasons such as hearing loss, height of the palate, cleft lip-palate, tongue tie, disorders in the jaw structure and orthodontic problems. It can occur only as a result of incorrect placement of the voice due to the wrong habits of the speech organs or without any identifiable cause.

How Is Articulation Disorder Evaluated?

In articulation therapy, sounds that cannot be spoken with standard tests are detected first. Then, an oral-motor evaluation is made, in which tongue, lip, palate and tooth structures are examined to see if there is a structural reason that prevents these sounds from being spoken. If there is a remarkable situation in these evaluations, family otolaryngologist, orthodontist, audiologist, etc. referred to the necessary specialists. Then, starting from the sounds that need to be developed first or that the child can say more easily, according to the order of sound acquisition, a therapy program is prepared and implemented.

What Adverse Effects Does Articulation Disorder Have on Children?

Articulation disorders can have negative effects on children’s social, emotional and academic development. Children with speech disorders may avoid speaking and communicating when what they are saying is not understood by others, their self-confidence may decrease, or they may react irritably when trying to express themselves. Because they are not understood, they may not be preferred by their friends or they may receive negative feedback from them. They may have difficulty perceiving the differences between sounds during school years, have difficulty learning to read, or may make spelling mistakes by writing them wrong as they say.

When to See a Specialist for Articulation Disorder?

Sounds are acquired in a certain order. This development happens very quickly in some children and over a longer period of time in others. In some cases, there is no harm in waiting, while in some cases it may be necessary to intervene. While some error operations can be considered normal in certain age ranges, some are considered as deviations from normal after a certain age. After the evaluation, it can be decided to accept the speech characteristics of the child as a problem and to take the necessary precautions in a timely manner. Addressing the problem at an early stage helps both to prevent the establishment of wrong productions and to reduce the negative effects of the problem on the child. To give a general time, it can be thought of as:

It is expected that about 50% of the speech of a normally developing child around the age of 2 will be understood by people outside of his family. Towards the age of 3, this percentage should approach 75%, and around the age of 4 it should approach 100%. It can be said that there is a problem, a speech disorder, in children who are 4 years old and still have speech intelligibility disorders. As an exception, one can wait until the age of 6 for the sound /r/, which is one of the most recently acquired sounds. The /r/ sound can begin to be produced spontaneously towards this age.

If families find their children’s speech different from their peers, they should seek counseling from a speech and language therapist without delay. After the evaluation, speech and language therapists make necessary suggestions on how and when to act with approaches specific to the child’s situation.

How Can Families Help Their Children With Articulation Disorders?

● The child who makes articulation errors should not be imitated, and wrongly spoken words should not be repeated incorrectly behind the child’s back.

● It is important to be the right model.

● Then the correct sound should be repeated with emphasis and help him hear the correct sound.

● If therapy is started, cooperation with the speech and language therapist should be established in this process, sessions should be followed regularly and the assignments given should be repeated to help reinforce the studies.

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