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It’s Better Hearing & Speech Month!

Mar 01st, 2020 | by NAPA Team


March 01st, 2020

Better Hearing and Speech Month is hosted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) each May. In this blog, we will discuss the most common speech and language disorders in children and identify the signs of language disorders, speech sound disorders, stuttering (disfluency), and voice disorders. You can find Better Hearing & Speech Month ideas & activities in this related blog post!

Better Hearing & Speech Month 2020

Recognize the Early Signs of Language Disorders

An estimated 40 million Americans have trouble speaking or hearing due to a communication disorder. Millions more family members and friends are also impacted. All across the country, there are parents reading this whose children are struggling to speak or understand language; spouses living with partners whose hearing is deteriorating; and co-workers, neighbors and others who see someone who needs help but don’t know what to do.

With years of experience working in the field of communication disorders, we have seen the debilitating effects that these issues can have when left unaddressed. Too often, people wrestle with these challenges for years because they fail to receive proper, timely treatment. Early detection of speech, language, and hearing issues is absolutely critical to improving academic, social, and career outcomes—and improving one’s quality of life at any age.

Common Speech and Language Disorders in Children

The early stages of communication disorders are easier to spot when you know the signs. Here is a list of signs of common speech and language disorders in children from birth to 4 years of age:

Signs of a Language Disorder:

  • Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
  • Does not babble (4-7 months)
  • Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7-12 months)
  • Does not understand what others say (7 months-2 years)
  • Says only a few words (12-18 months)
  • Words are not easily understood (18 months-2 years)
  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)
  • Has trouble with early reading and writing skills (2.5-3 years)

Signs of a Speech Sound Disorder:

  • Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1-2 years)
  • Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2-3 years)
  • Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2-3 years)

Signs of Stuttering (Disfluency):

  • Struggles to say sounds or words (2.5-3 years)
  • Repeats first sounds or words—“b-b-b-ball” for “ball” (2.5-3 years)
  • Pauses a lot while talking (2.5-3 years)
  • Stretches sounds out—“f-f-f-f-farm” for “farm” (2.5-3 years)

Signs of a Voice Disorder:

  • Uses a hoarse or breathy voice
  • Uses a nasal-sounding voice

Identifying Communication Disorders

For people with communication disorders, those closest to them are often their biggest asset. Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers are unable to identify the warning signs or dismiss them too readily. A recent poll of speech-language pathologists and audiologists by ASHA reported significant parental delays in getting help for children with communication difficulties. This is just one example of the missed opportunities that commonly occur with communication disorders.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Untreated communication disorders often lead to larger academic, social, and developmental issues. Early diagnosis is important because early intervention is the most powerful way to reduce or even reverse the impact and can give your loved ones the opportunity to lead the fullest lives possible. If you suspect that you or a loved one shows signs of having a speech and language disorder, we encourage you to seek help.

About NAPA Center

At NAPA Center, we provide intensive and traditional speech therapy programs tailored to fit your child’s specific needs. NAPA offers speech therapy to children of all ages to address speech delays and disorders in expressive/receptive language, articulation, oral motor dysfunction, apraxia of speech, social language, fluency, feeding and swallowing, and cognitive skills. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.

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