Speech and Language Difficulties
Peter had a Speech Delay
Peter has speech and language difficulties. He can say one word sentences like “hungee” when he wants food, “up” when he wants to be picked up and” bye” when he is going somewhere or is finished an activity. He is now nearly 3½ years old and has been attending speech therapy … read more >
Speech and Language development generally follows a specific pattern. In terms of language development, children’s receptive language develops first – they start to respond to their name. Then children start to use and develop expressive language and start to say “mama” or “dada”, then start using nouns like “juice”, “car” etc. Then children will start to use two word sentences such as “me juice” when asking for juice. Then children will start to use verbs such as “want” (i.e. “me / I want juice”).
How would you recognise a Speech and Language delay or difficulty?
Some children do not develop Speech and Language in the typical way. Some may only acquire a few words such as “yes”, “no”, “mama” etc. These children’s Speech,Language Development appears to stop at this stage. Other children don’t develop any words and get their needs met by crying or by taking a parents hand and leading them to what they want. Many parents at this stage may have sought the assistance of a speech and language therapist for language therapy.
Other children who appear to have good receptive language or understanding do not build on this language development and do not go on to develop good child speech. Others do say a number of words but it is very hard for people to understand what they are saying (their parents and close family may understand but others will struggle).
Speech and Language difficulties can be very frustrating for the developing child as they are unable to communicate their needs and wants effectively. It is also frustrating for their parents and professionals (play school staff for example) as they struggle to understand their child. These children may be attending speech therapy.
What is a Speech and Language difficulty or delay?
Language difficulties can be very frustrating for the developing child as they are unable to communicate their needs and wants effectively. It is also frustrating for their parents and professionals (play school staff for example) as they struggle to understand their child.
It is estimated that more than 5% of children will experience a Speech, Language delay. This means up to 6,000 children reaching school-going age in Ireland each year have a specific speech or language impairment. Speech Therapy can be of great assistance to children with a delay; however in our experience there are many children who do not have the foundational skills and abilities in order to get the benefit of Speech and Language therapy. Thus a program of sound stimulation to first improve their auditory processing is often very beneficial. We receive many referrals from speech and language therapists.
The largest group of children that we work with here at Cluas are children difficulty using language and talking and are generally between the ages of 2 and 5 years. This is often a time of great concern as parents try to prepare their children to enter the world of school.
Speech and Language difficulties or speech delay mean that children do not develop or acquire speech, language at the same rate as their peers.
The causes of seech delays and language delays are complex but may be related to a more general developmental delay, or from our experience may be the result of frequent ear infections during the critical stages of language development.
Peter has Speech and Language difficulties
Peter has speech and language difficulties. He can say one word sentences like “hungee” when he wants food, “up” when he wants to be picked up and” bye” when he is going somewhere or is finished an activity. He is now nearly 3½ years old and is still speaking in one-word sentences. He has been attending Speech and Language therapy but has made little progress.
We know from our developmental assessment that Peter has developmental delay and has had many ear infections. Developmental delay can occur when the neural pathways in the brain are not linked together or are not fully developed; this delay is contributing to Peter’s Language delay.
Peter’s ear infections may have caused him difficulties so that at a crucial period of acquiring language he was not able to hear important frequencies which are necessary for language. In addition, the infections may have weakened the muscles in Peter’s middle ear and now they are not as flexible as they need to be. The result of this is that Peter does not hear the sounds of language the way his peers do, and thus he has a poor example from which to model his own speech and language.
At Cluas we create and provide programmes to help develop the Vestibular, Auditory and Language neural pathways to and from the brain. We use specially recorded music pre-processed with a sophisticated audio computer and then listened to on Specialised Head Phones. The music Peter listened to as part of his programme was gated and filtered in such a way that it gave his ear muscles a work out, encouraging them to contract and relax repeatedly, making them strong and supple.
Peter started a Cluas Programme and within a short space of time he had acquired more single words, and then began adding two words together – “bye bye ballpool” and “bye bye horsey” to a rocking horse. Later still, he began using verbs and longer sentences – “I’m tired” “I want up” which developed further into “I want to go to bed”, “I’m tired. Will you carry me?”.
Peter is now four and has made great progress in a short space of time. He is now a better listener, a lot calmer and does not get as frustrated as he had previously. He will follow simple instructions and can stay at a task longer. Peter’s parents are delighted with the progress he has made so far and are aware that there is more work to be done, however they are now a lot more optimistic that Peter will survive in big school when he is five. He is still receiving Speech and Language Therapy, and is now progressing at a much faster rate compared to before the Cluas Programme. His parents are delighted and are also aware that Peter will benefit from follow-up therapy.
One mother told us about her 3 year old daughter’s progress with a Cluas Program -
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