Here are some parenting tips for helping along your child’s speech and language: from the American Speech language Hearing Association (ASHA.org)
What about stuttering, and how can parents help?
Stuttering (sometimes called stammering or dysfluent speech) is a speech disorder. In stuttering, the normal flow of speech is broken up by repeating or lengthening the sounds, syllables, or words. A person may also have trouble getting a word started. Most kids outgrow stuttering.
Parents can help by:
If your child is getting treatment for stuttering, don’t set perfect speech as the goal. Rather, expect treatment to help your child to arrive at more natural speech, with less struggle and work.
Late Blooming or Language Problem?
Parents are smart. They listen to their child talk and know how he or she communicates. They also listen to his or her playmates who are about the same age and may even remember what older brothers and sisters did at the same age. Then the parents mentally compare their child's performance with the performance of these other children. What results is an impression of whether or not their child is developing speech and language at a normal rate.
If parents think that development is slow, they may check out their impression with other parents, relatives, or their pediatrician. They may get an answer such as "My son was slow too. Now he won't shut up" or "Don't worry, she'll outgrow it."
But suppose (s)he doesn't? I'd feel guilty waiting and then finding out that I should have acted earlier. Waiting is so hard, especially when I'm concerned and only want what's best for my child. What's a parent to do? How will I know for sure what to do?
You won't know for sure. Although the stages that children pass through in the development of speech and language are very consistent, the exact age when they hit these milestones varies a lot. Factors such as the child's inborn ability to learn language, other skills the child is learning, the amount and kind of language the child hears, and how people respond to communication attempts can slow down or accelerate the speed of speech and language development. This makes it difficult to say with certainty where any young child's speech and language development will be in 3 months, or 1 year.
There are, however, certain factors that may increase the risk that a late-talking child in the 18- to 30-month-old age range, and with normal intelligence, will have continuing language problems. These factors include:
It should be re-emphasized that negative aspects of these factors increase the risk of a true language problem but do not mandate its presence. For example, one research group found that one of their 25- or 26-month-old children with the worst receptive language had the best expressive language outcome 10 months later. On the other hand, children on the positive side of these factors may turn out to show less progress than predicted. The research group found that the child with the poorest outcome had the best receptive language and the largest vocabulary at the beginning of the study.
One study has found that the number of gestures used by late-talking children with comparably low expressive language can indicate later language abilities.
Individual children may not behave like children in a group. Group data can only be used to predict what most children who are very similar to the children in a study might do. Predictions, by their very nature, are not always correct.
So what's a parent to do?
Parents don't have to rely on the predictions of others or to guess that their child will be just like a friend's and eventually catch up in language development. If parents are concerned about their child's speech and language development, they should see a speech-language pathologist certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for a professional evaluation. The speech-language pathologist can administer tests of receptive and expressive language, analyze a child's utterances in various situations, determine factors that may be slowing down language development, and counsel parents on the next steps to take.
The speech-language pathologist may give suggestions on stimulating language development, and ask that the parent and child return if parental concern continues. Or, the speech-language pathologist may want to schedule a re-evaluation right then. In more severe cases, the speech-language pathologist may want the parent and child to become involved in an early intervention program. The programs typically consist of demonstrating language stimulation techniques for home use, and more frequent monitoring of the child's progress. In the most severe cases, a more formal treatment program may be recommended.
Waiting to find out if your child will catch up will still be hard, but you won't feel guilty that you did not do everything you could.
from American Speech Language Hearing Association www.asha.org
What is a language-based learning disability?
Language-based learning disabilities are problems with age-appropriate reading, spelling, and/or writing. This disorder is not about how smart a person is. Most people diagnosed with learning disabilities have average to superior intelligence.
What are some signs or symptoms of a language-based learning disability?
Dyslexia has been used to refer to the specific learning problem of reading. The term language-based learning disability, or just learning disabilities, is better because of the relationship between spoken and written language. Many children with reading problems have spoken language problems.
The child with dyslexia has trouble almost exclusively with the written (or printed) word. The child who has dyslexia as part of a larger language learning disability has trouble with both the spoken and the written word. These problems may include difficulty with the following:
How is a language-based learning disability diagnosed?
A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is part of a team consisting of the parents/caregivers and educational professionals (i.e., teacher(s), special educators, psychologist). The SLP will evaluate spoken (speaking and listening) and written (reading and writing) language for children who have been identified by their teachers and parents as having difficulty.
For preschool students, the SLP may do any or all of the following:
For the older child, the SLP may also do any or all of the following:
For all children, the SLP will also provide a complete language evaluation and also look at articulation and executive function.
Executive functioning is the ability to plan, organize, and attend to details (e.g., does he or she plan/organize his or her writing? Is he or she able to keep track of assignments and school materials?).
What treatments are available for people with a language-based learning disability?
The goals of speech and language treatment for the child with a reading problem target the specific aspects of reading and writing that the student is missing. For example, if the student is able to read words but is unable to understand the details of what has been read, comprehension is addressed. If a younger student has difficulty distinguishing the different sounds that make up words, treatment will focus on activities that support growth in this skill area (rhyming, tapping out syllables, etc.).
Individualized programs always relate to the school work. Therefore, materials for treatment are taken from or are directly related to content from classes (e.g., textbooks for reading activities, assigned papers for writing activities, practice of oral reports for English class). The student is taught to apply newly learned language strategies to classroom activities and assignments. To assist the child best, the SLP may work side-by-side with the child in his or her classroom(s).
Intervention with spoken language (speaking and listening) can also be designed to support the development of written language. For example, after listening to a story, the student may be asked to state and write answers to questions. He or she may be asked to give a verbal and then a written summary of the story.
Articulation (pronunciation) needs are also treated in a way that supports written language. For example, if the child is practicing saying words to improve pronunciation of a certain sound, he or she may be asked to read these words from a printed list.
The SLP consults and collaborates with teachers to develop the use of strategies and techniques in the classroom. For example, the SLP may help the teacher modify how new material is presented in lessons to accommodate the child's comprehension needs. The SLP may also demonstrate what planning strategies the student uses to organize and focus written assignments.