Speech Apraxia in Kids

Babies normally get approximately 50% of their speech development by the age of two, and 75% by the age of three. However these days many kids suffer from speech disorder/delay. Lot of parents have plenty of questions about their child’s developing speech skills. Like “My son is 3 but still not talking clearly!!”; “It seems like he is trying to pronounce the word, but can’t get it out,” and “He spoke that word once, and then I haven’t ever heard it once again”. These may be the symptoms of speech disorder  (or Speech Apraxia). Read on for some remedies and foods that help in Speech Apraxia.

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WHAT IS CHILDHOOD SPEECH APRAXIA?

In children with childhood Speech Apraxia, the brain has trouble coordinating the intricate oral motions required to turn sounds into syllables, words into phrases, and phrases into sentences. To speak correctly, your child’s brain must develop the ability to create plans that instruct the lips, jaw, and tongue muscles to move in ways that produce appropriate sounds and words spoken with typical speed and rhythm. The brain, however, finds it difficult to create plans for speech movement in case of speech disorder. The speaking muscles are not weak with this condition, yet they don’t function as they should. There are only 1 or 2 children with speech apraxia out of every 1,000 who see a speech therapist, which is pretty uncommon.

Also check, Speech disorder in kids

CAUSES:

Majority of the times, this disorder of speech has no identified cause. In rare circumstances, brain injury results in speech apraxia. A genetic condition or syndrome, a stroke, or a severe brain injury can all be the reasons for this condition.

SYMPTOMS:

A child with a speech disorder may not always pronounce words the same way each time, have a tendency to stress the wrong syllable or phrase, distort or change the sound of words, or couldn’t say longer words. Additionally, they could struggle with basic motor abilities, delayed language, issues with reading and spelling, or difficulties with writing

Also check, Baby’s milestone: 6 foods that help in walking

REMEDIES FOR SPEECH APRAXIA

Despite the fact that speech disorders cannot be fully treated without medical intervention, the condition can be addressed by simple tips such as:

  • Spend a lot of time communicating with your baby. Sing a song or rhyme and encourage imitation of sound and gesture.
  • Talk slowly and clearly. Use simple and short sentences.
  • Read stories to your child daily. Encourage them to talk to you about the plot and characters, ask them how they think a character could behave, let them ask questions whenever they feel like they’re simply learning how to express themselves.
  • Don’t miss any opportunity and use everyday situations to create communication. Keep on telling the name of different objects around the house.
  • Explain what you are doing as you are cooking, dish washing or cleaning or engage them by saying let’s do this or that.
  • If you are not watching the television, turn it off. The excess background noise can cause delays in the formation of words
  • Let the child lead the conversation.
  • Ask a lot of daily questions and give time to your child to answer questions.
  • Give lots of praise and positive reinforcement while also correcting, instead of criticising the child for not saying the word properly.
  • Encourage your baby to use straw for drinking or just to blow air through it. This helps the child to develop the oral muscles used for speech.

FOODS THAT HELP WITH SPEECH DELAY/SPEECH APRAXIA

Without the brain, there would be no language. The human brain has a few areas that are specific to language processing and production. Adding foods that support brain development can help to improve language development.

NUTS:

All the nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E and help in boosting memory. They are also antioxidants which protect against cell damage. Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are a valuable substance for brain function, memory and thinking abilities. This fatty acid also encourages cognitive functions.          (Also check, best nuts for protein)

SEEDS:

Apart from nuts, seeds like flax, chia, melon, sesame and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds impact overall mood and mental processing powers and therefore it is considered a brain boosting snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and much higher in zinc than other seeds, which help in increasing concentration and memory. One of the easiest to feed brain boosting foods for kids. 

Also check, health benefits of pumpkin seeds for kids

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS:

Multiple studies have shown the link between low omega 3 fatty acids and poor development, ADHD, speech delay, poor focus and concentration. These healthy fats are crucial for brain development and help to manage speech disorder and delay in kids. ( What are some home benefits of omega 3?)

COCOA POWDER

Pure cocoa powder (unsweetened) contains brain boosting components as it is packed with a large number of antioxidants molecules, the main is epicatechin helpful to improve cognition and speech impairment in studies. Hence cocoa powder is also an important brain development food for children. (More benefits of cocoa powder)

ASHWAGANDHA:

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. It is known to reduce anxiety and stress. Moreover, it increases acetylcholine levels which support better memory, mental focus and intelligence. Ashwagandha also improves communication between nerve cells and stimulates the body’s capacity to heal any nervous system damage.

Also check, health benefits of Ashwagandha for kids and teenagers

BRAHMI:

Brahmi is a superfood for the brain and is believed to sharpen the brain by protecting cells and increasing chemicals associated with learning and memory. It has shown to improve spatial learning and retaining power in kids. That is why in older times, kids were often given Brahmi powder with ghee/honey. This would increase their focus and attention while keeping them calm and distressed.

SHANKHAPUSHPI:

Shankhapushpi is a traditional remedy for increasing the functioning of the brain. The powerful antioxidants and flavonoids present in it improve the memory capacity, focus, concentration, calmness, alertness of an individual. Since it is a brain tonic and stimulator, people taking shankhapushpi have improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities.

Also check, 7 Foods that help in speech disorder in kids

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