Speech and language disorders must not
be confused although they are deeply related. Language involves expression and
communication which need not be always vocal. That is, the child can still
communicate using sign language. But speech disorders are caused by definite
Have a quick look the contributing
factors for speech disorder in toddlers.
Since speech is actually the mechanics
of language or speaking, more often than not it is some physical or birth
defects that plants boulders in the progression of speaking. Cleft palate is
one of them. Here an abnormal space gets formed in the roof of the mouth. This
is a defect that results in the inability to pronounce certain words clearly.
Down syndrome also causes certain
physical differences that lead to difficulty in producing speech.
Nerve Related Factors
If the child is born or has developed a
nervous system issue speech disorder follows as he finds it difficult to
coordinate the speech centers in the brain. There can actually be a wide array
of speech problems if the nervous system is the root cause. If the Hypoglossal
nerve gets damaged due to any reason, the speech becomes extremely unclear as
becomes clumsy. Pronunciation gets badly affected. Cerebral palsy is another
brain damage condition where the speech and language development of the toddler
Hearing impairment whether temporary or
permanent can also cause speech disorder in toddlers. Stuttering is a common
condition that goes away with age. There is another condition called ‘selective
mutism’ where the toddler either wishes or pretends to talk only when he is
comfortable in specific environments. This is a psychological disturbance that
might follow from child
The Following Symptoms can help you Understand whether your
Toddler is really having Speech Disorder:
He will have an altered speech. When
your toddler speaks he will continually have a different tone of speech. This
is what catches the attention first as the abnormality manifests itself pretty
The toddler will also have a hoarse and
limited speech. This is because he is not comfortable in speaking and so the
irritation comes across through the hoarseness. And his being unable to enjoy
communication makes him speak as little as possible.
He will have a rapid and nasal speech.
The speech is nasal because the sound does not come out clearly through his
mouth. And he tries to finish or whatever he is saying very fast, so he just
blazes through his broken sentences. Due to this very reason, the speech becomes
You will find the toddler speaking with
a lisp. Parents should not mistake it as something that the toddler is doing to
annoy you. Neither is it his new found fancy. Observe well and you will get it
that the point.
How to Get it Right?
Speech disorders in toddlers can be
identified easily as the speech and language development is just initiated. If
the speech therapy is commenced right away and the transition from the lap
happens quite fast, it is found to be more effective. The parent can be in the
room during the therapy session or leave the room depending on whether the
parent is a distraction or an encouragement for the toddler.
The session involves playing with
something like the doll’s house or something that the toddler is interested in
and in the course, working on certain words. As you throw the ball at the child
and ask him to get it and do the same, your exaggerated smile and utterance of
difficult sounds, letters or words will catch the attention of the toddler and
he will look forward to imitate. This needs to be encouraged and guided and
soon you will find the toddler is easily responding and also the speech
disorder is simultaneously lessening.