SPEECH SOUND DISORDERS IN KIDS

Is your child pronouncing a word by omitting or adding some sounds like “Sh” or “ca”? Does your child speak unclear words that you cannot understand? Does your child abruptly alter the tone while speaking? Is your child not able to speak fluently? All these things, if continued above 2 years of age, will be considered as “Speech sound disorder”. Speaking skills of Kids will improve with age. However those who make mistakes on a regular basis may be dealing with speech sound disorder. Here are some symptoms and factors that can help you identify a speech sound disorder, as well as some advice and foods that can help you fix it. 

Lets try to understand it little deeper!

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What is speech sound disorder?

Speech sound disorder can be associated with speech delay in kids. Children who are dealing with speech sound disorder have difficulty speaking correctly and pronouncing the words with proper sound.  They might find it challenging to produce a particular sound or modulate their voices. Others struggle with stammering and pronouncing “s or z” sounds with “th” sound.

What are the types of speech sound disorder?

Articulation disorder : Articulation means “producing sounds”. Speaking is facilitated by a variety of different muscles and nerves associated with tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth and lungs. Articulation disorder is the inability to produce sounds.

Phonological disorder : Phonetics is the study of how sounds are combined to form words. Kids with phonological disorder struggle to speak, read or write. This includes omitting sounds of some letters from the words. 

What are the major causes of speech sound  disorders?

The reason for a speech sound disorder is usually unknown. However, some speech sound issues might be caused due to the following reasons.

  • The physical conditions called cleft palate or cleft palate, is the fissure in the roof of the mouth or lips which in turn causes speech-impairment
  • Developmental or cognitive impairment
  • Damage of speech-related nerves
  • Hearing impairments

Also check, speech disorders in kids.

signs and symptoms of speech sound disorder?

Remember that an accent may cause alteration of some sounds. It may not be a speech sound  disorder. Clarify your confusions by reading the below symptoms.

Children with articulation disorder will have the following symptoms

  • Alter the pronunciation of the word with a specific sound- While pronouncing “fish” they will say “fith”.
  • Modifying the sound of words- Instead of saying “rhino” they will say “whino”.
  • Making words with sound- Instead of saying “clay” they will say “culay”.

Children with phonological disorders will have the following symptoms

  • Say word with only one syllable – Instead of saying “lady” they will say “lay”.
  • Repeating the same syllable two times- Instead of saying “waffle” they will say “wawa”.
  • Omitting consonant sound from a word- Than saying “cat” they will say “ca” or “at” .

Other symptoms

  • Kids will find difficulty moving the lips, tongue, and jaw.
  • A scratchy or dry voice while speaking.
  • Having trouble breathing while speaking

Tips for managing the speech sound disorder

While it is critical to identify the underlying cause of your kid’s speech disorder, you can take several steps to address it. Here are a few recommendations:

  • 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 criticizing 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.

Also check, Speech Apraxia in Kids.

Food that help to manage the speech sound disorder

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 speaking difficulty.

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.

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.

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. (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.

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 also help to manage speech sound disorders and delay in kids.

Also check, 10 reasons of giving the kids Omega rich foods.

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.

Also check, More benefits of cocoa powder.


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