Does your normally talkative and engaging kid suddenly seem uninterested? Does your child no longer speak the same words that he/she once did? Are they not learning new words or not using the words that they learned? These are some of the signs of speech regression (language development) that refer to the loss of language skills that the child initially had. This sort of developmental or verbal regression is present in about 25% of autistic children. It frequently happens between 18 and 24 months. However, some foods and tips can help kids manage their speech regression.
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WHat is speech regression?
Regression in simple terms is the loss of a skill that a young child formerly possessed. Thus, speech regression refers to the loss of language skills that the child initially had. It doesn’t mean it is due to lack of communication skills. Regression in speech can start slowly or suddenly. Early regression can also take place. Even though some children exhibit the symptoms as early as 12 months, it usually occurs between 18 and 24 months.
Also, check What is Speech Apraxia in kids?
major causes of Speech regression:
Different types of causes can initially affect the mental status of the child and later cast its effect on speech development.
- Acquiring expertise in a new milestone: The child may begin to regress in language development as the child goes from learning new words each day to using nonsense words when he/she commences with potty training.
- Encountering major life events: The child is introduced to a new caretaker or a babysitter and experiences initial anxiety in getting used to him or her. This can turn out to be one cause behind developmental regression.
- Autism Spectrum disorder: A child with autism finds difficulty in grasping and hence shows repetitive use of words and phrases, and difficulty in social interaction. These can stand as causes for issues in language development.
Signs of Speech regression:
Some of the signs of Speech Regression in a child include:
- Not imitating sounds and words suddenly or stopping repeating you
- Blabbers instead of using words to communicate
- Tries to communicate only when they need something
- Child who was outspoken suddenly becomes shy around less familiar people
- A child who previously displayed social abilities with classmates withdraws from them during play and keeps to themselves.
Also, check Speech delay: Food that help
Foods that help in managing speech regression/ Language development:
Language Human development is significantly influenced by the type of food consumed. Important nutrients to be consumed include:
1. Omega 3 fatty acids:
Children’s language development may be slowed down if they don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. It may also impact the clarity of speech. Add salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, tofu, and other seafood to your diet for a plentiful source of omega -3 fatty acids.
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2. Nuts and seeds:
In addition to nuts like cashew nuts, peanuts, and hazelnuts, seeds such as flax, chia, melon, sesame, and pumpkins also provide potent antioxidants like vitamin E that shield the brain from oxidative damage. Sunflower seeds are regarded as a brain-boosting snack because of their impact on the general mood and mental processing abilities.
It aids in brain relaxation and stress and anxiety relief. Additionally, it enhances memory by serving as a brain tonic. The potent antioxidants and flavonoids it contains enhance a person’s memory, attention, concentration, tranquillity, and alertness.
It contains powerful antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation in nerves and protects the cells by boosting the brain chemicals involved in memory and learning. Since the brain is seen to be the seat of creativity, any substance that might improve brain health is referred to as Brahmi. Earlier it was often consumed with ghee and honey.
According to Ayurveda, Ashwagandha has a strong affinity for GABA receptors. Cognitive impairment is associated with low GABA activation. It raises acetylcholine levels, supporting enhanced intelligence, mental clarity, and memory. Additionally, ashwagandha enhances nerve cell communication and promotes the body’s natural ability to repair any injury to the neurological system.
Also, check Early Signs of Autism in Kids
6. Vitamin D :
The use of vitamin D as a treatment for ASD symptoms, including speech, has been recommended. Deficiency in levels of Vitamin D can severely affect the brain’s cognitive functioning which can later cast its impact on language development. Exposure to early morning sunshine and consumption of foods like fish, egg yolks, fortified cereals, etc forms the mainspring of a healthy being.
7. Folic Acid :
Vitamin B9 or folic acid-rich foods aid in preventing nerve defects. Include folic acid-fortified foods like bread and wheat flour as well as leafy, dark green vegetables in your diet. Help in keeping sound brain health and cognitive functioning.
8. Vitamin E:
This functions as an antioxidant and eliminates free radicals, which can harm our nerves and cause speech issues. Increase your intake of nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, etc.
Also, check Healthy Diet plan for Autism
Your child’s brain will develop and thrive with a nutritious diet that includes high quality sources of protein. The protein-rich foods include plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds and animal foods like meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products.
Approaches to deal with speech regression:
1. Practice pronunciation each day:
Encourage your child to create that sound by themselves if, for instance, they have problems speaking the letter “f.” Before moving on to actual words that use it, you can mix it into syllables like “fi-fi-fi” or “fa-fa-fa”.
2. Listen patiently:
Ask questions, pay attention to the answers, and be patient. Try to understand what exactly the child tries to communicate and only then redirect him in a positive way. Anxiety will be caused by interfering and expecting the child to “just spit it out,” which could make the situation worse. Let him or her resolve it without being pressed.
Also, check Autism and Sensory Sensitivity
3. Reading and recitation:
Reading short stories pumped up with different sets of examples can enhance the cognitive functioning of children. It can be really rewarding to read a child’s favourite book to them and then have them read it back to you. Even if the child is too young to read, having them explain what they see in the book and having them retain the context from hearing it will help them speak more confidently and with more assurance.
4. Distractions and background noise to be kept at a minimum:
Children tend to learn to speak faster when they are actually listening attentively without any external distractions. The noises in the background can creep in with a sense of confusion which can delay language development.
Also, check How to increase memory power in kids?
5. Focus on the do’s:
Rather than focusing on what a child is unable to do, focus on the things which he or she can successfully accomplish. Try to pay attention to improvising things and give rewards over tiny accomplishments.
Speech regression is one of the major issues that can be experienced normally or as a part of Autism spectrum disorder. It is further triggered by improper cognitive functioning of the brain and pops out problems related with language development and delivery. Some effective measures including patient practising, consistent learning, minimising distractions, etc can help to effectively tackle this issue. Crucial measures complemented with a properly planned diet including foods rich in protein, vitamins and essential minerals can efficiently help in managing speech regression with ease.
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