Parenting a child with speech disabilities

Speech is very important in the development of a child, and when there are disabilities, it can be very traumatic for the entire family involved. The actual cause/s of speech disabilities are unknown. However, studies in this area have revealed different theories.

Theories

Environmental

One of the main causes could be the environment. In a home, if the family does not talk a lot, a child will talk later. Or, if less attention is given to a child, then speech may be slowed.

Gender

Studies have shown that girls talk quicker than boys. Thus, if the child is a male, then speech may be slower.

Hearing-impaired

Sometimes, the reason for speech disability could be a partial or complete deafness, as speech is closely linked to hearing.

Physical

There could be a malfunction of the speech center of the brain.

Stuttering or stammering

One common disability in speech is stuttering or stammering. Children between the ages of 2 to 5 years generally lack fluency in speech, thus, they will stutter a bit. Sometimes this condition is temporarily due to excitement or embarrassment. In a case like that, parents should ignore, but observe. It is imperative that you do not show anger or attempt to finish the child’s sentence. Moreover, do not allow siblings to tease. In the meantime, read, sing and speak to your child as much as possible.

Over time, if speech diminishes or if stuttering becomes chronic, the parent should take the child to the pediatrician. The doctor will do a physical examination of the child’s throat and tongue. If the child is younger than five years old, the doctor will refer to a speech pathologist or therapist for further evaluation and treatment.

Support and solutions

No parent wishes to hear that his offspring is suffering from a disability. The subject is a very delicate and sensitive one. It is very important that parents are comfortable with healthcare providers. If you are not satisfied with one, do feel free to shop around. Surround yourself with the best team. Education is vital. Do gather as much information on the subject from doctors and ask questions. The more you know, the better equipped you are to deal with this.

After diagnosis, it is important that parents understand and accept the challenges at hand. Unfortunately, parents are going blame each other and feel guilty. However, they should use their time and energy to make their child comfortable in spite of this disability.

A child can learn to develop new skills. There are different organizations that are listed on the Internet that can provide pertinent information on the subject. Moreover, there are government agencies in Washington, D.C. that can also provide assistance, namely:

1. Administration of Developmental Disabilities
2. National Council on Disability

In the interim, parents can join support groups where they can interact with other parents with similar problems. Do purchase whatever tools that are necessary to guide you and your child. There many books, CDs and tapes on the subject of speech disabilities.

It is very important that while parents are interacting with the child, look directly in the face when talking. If the child is a toddler, do try to include toys and games along with speech when communicating. Also, have frequent and friendly talks with him or her. Do bear in mind that “patience” is the operative word. With the right tools and support, each day will become a little easier.