ENT Center of Austin - Doctor's Blog

Speech Delay Can Be Managed

It sounded somewhat weird when the former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld said it, but when you read it, the quote makes sense:

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

Mom and Toddler Speech

But at the Triological Society Combined Sections Meeting recently, a group of experts got us closer to actually knowing something: The scientists were focused on one matter in a particular discussion. A child's delay in speaking. Basically they said it's imperative to tell the difference between what's a problem and what's not. At least as it applies to a child who's not able to talk when the time is right.


A Couple of Things to Ponder

An Arizona, speech pathologist, Carla Zimmerman, PhD, noted that speech delay can be thought of in a pair of different ways.

•    Having a hard time trying to form sentences.
•    How your child makes actual sounds you kind of interpret as speech.

Boys are a little slower than the opposite sex, but not by too much, so you can dismiss the difference in gender.
Children who are considered "late talkers" -- don't rattle-off the Declaration of Independence -- between a year-and-a-half and two-and-a-half years fall into this category. They appear to understand what you're saying and will eventually outgrow the issue. The matter of concern is who are these young ones that require special care. And how do you know? What are the warning signs?

Take a look at the risk factors of late talkers:

•    Having a history of ear infections as an infant.
•    The child doesn't use a lot of gestures when they try to speak.
•    When they're very little, they don't babble a lot. It's annoying when an adult babbles all-the-time but with a little one, that's a good thing.
•    They don't seem to "get it." Their comprehension skills seem to be slow for the child’s age.
•    When they do speak, they don't use a lot of consonants.
•    Is your family smitten with learning problems or have in your genealogy a history of communication delays? Good to know what issues run in your combined heritages.
•    When they're out goofing around with other kids their age, they have problems linking actions and pretending; this can lead to issues when they're trying to play with other young ones their own age.
•    A really obvious factor is that the child has a big problem imitating words. Essentially, you say tomato and they say Mickey.
•    If they communicate with a ton of nouns however they fail to link their sentences with just a couple of verbs. Another way of putting it, they sound like adults from a foreign land learning the English language, saying things like "Ball outside" or "Hand bleed on nail."

The takeaway is that if your child shows any signs of the risk factors above, it's a good idea to make an appointment with the Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy Center of Austin. Dr. Zimmerman adds, “There is a window of development for children, and if we catch the children early enough that they’re still in that window of potential learning, we can get a lot more bang for our buck.”

Image Source: bellyitchblog.com

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