What are Speech and Language Disorders?

There are many different kinds and degrees of speech and language difficulty. In the early years, sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between speech and language delays which the child will eventually overcome and speech and language disorders which require intensive speech and language therapy.

Speech and language difficulties are not unusual in young children and difficulties may be evident in the following areas:

  • Understanding language (receptive) (i.e. following directions, answering questions etc)
  • Developing expressive language (i.e. vocabulary, forming sentences, use of grammatical
    structures)
  • Speech Sound production (children have difficulties in producing specific sounds in
    words)
  • Social Interaction difficulties

Children who have a speech and language disorder can have problems expressing themselves, understanding others or interacting socially with others. They may have difficulties understanding and finding the right words and producing and identifying speech sounds. Further difficulties include understanding grammatical rules about how to form phrases and sentences and knowing how language is used in different social contexts. Children who are unable to communicate their feelings and needs can become frustrated, feel isolated and alone. This can lead to emotional and behavioural problems. Carers may need to use a range of intentional and non-verbal means of communication including pictorial, symbolic, gestural or technological systems to ensure that every child is empowered to communicate to the best of their ability from the earliest age possible. A facilitating and responsive environment will support and nurture communication with every child.

Early Referral

Early referral to the speech and language therapies is important to establish the reasons for the delay in acquiring speech, language and communication skills. The speech and language therapist is the specialist who will carry out a detailed assessment of the child’s strengths and needs and develop a specific programme for the child based on this. Speech and language therapists typically work as part of a team with the child and the family.

Contact us today to book your free consultation, or just to chat about the ways the Speech and Occupational Therapy can help your child.