A child with a speech sound disorder cannot say all speech sounds with words. This can make the child's language difficult to understand. People may not understand the child in everyday situations. In most children, the cause of the speech sound disorder is unknown.
Other speech sound disorders may be related to things such as a cleft palate, problems with teeth, hearing loss, or difficulty controlling mouth movements. Sometimes this is simply a delay in speech development, and the child will begin to learn to speak on his own. Health care providers can play an important role in collaborating with schools to help children with speech or language disorders and delays or other disabilities get the special services they need. In general, learning more than one language doesn't cause language disorders, but children may not follow exactly the same developmental milestones as those who learn only one language.
Schools can do their own tests for language or speech disorders to see if a child needs an intervention. Sometimes, even teething and the way the teeth come together in the mouth can cause some speech problems. If a child has a problem with language or speech development, talk to a health care provider about an evaluation. The American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and accrediting association with 228,000 members and affiliates, who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support staff, and students.
A speech impediment occurs when your child's mouth, jaw, tongue, and vocal tracts can't work together to produce recognizable words. This evaluation determines whether the suspected speech impairment is a sign of an underlying physical or developmental problem.
Speech therapyis a useful part of treatment for children who have conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, or hearing loss. Speech involves the movement of the oral articulators (the tongue, jaw, and lips) to create the sounds of language.
Children learn speech and language skills by listening to what others say and practicing while talking with others. A speech impediment may be one reason your child's speech isn't developing as it should, but it may not be the only reason. A child with a speech disorder may have difficulty producing speech sounds, voice, resonance, or fluency (the flow of speech). Other times, there may be specific problems that require evaluation and treatment, perhaps by a speech-language therapist.
Listening to music, singing songs, and sharing nursery rhymes are also great ways to develop speech and language skills while having fun with your child.