Does my child have a speech impediment?

pedagogical help. What exactly is faulty pronunciation and when should we see a specialist? Does my child have a speech impediment?

Does my child have a speech impediment?
Does my child have a speech impediment?


Children with speech impediments are more and more often referred to a speech therapist in schools as part of psychological and pedagogical help. What exactly is faulty pronunciation and when should we see a specialist? Does my child have a speech impediment?

We speak of a defective pronunciation when it differs from the pronunciation in common use. A seven-year-old child starting education at school should correctly realize all the sounds of the language system. Speech is an important factor in determining a child's school maturity.

Speech defects do not improve spontaneously, they require the intervention of a speech therapist. The sooner it occurs, the more effective the speech therapy is. Therefore, if you hear that your child pronounces sounds incorrectly, do not wait - report to a speech therapist at the nearest psychological and pedagogical counseling center or consult a pedagogue or psychologist at your child's school.

Speech defects and school

Children in the first grade should pronounce all sounds correctly and correctly build sentences in terms of grammar and syntax. If speech impediments are not reduced before school starts, they can become frustrating and discouraging from school responsibilities. They cause shyness and fear in a child and the lack of success in learning favors closing in and shaping a negative attitude towards school.

Lack of fluency in speaking may be one of the symptoms. Embarrassing a child, ridiculing, persuading him to speak, shifting from the left hand to the right, causes him nervousness and strong emotional arousal, which in turn may develop a strong concentration on speech disfluency. Then, the repetition of sounds, syllables, words, phrases, etc. appears. Such disfluency is stuttering and it is a signal that the therapeutic process should be started. Parents should report to a specialist who will define preventive measures aimed at the child, parents, and teachers.

The basis of the therapy is speaking training combined with psychotherapy, relaxation, play therapy, and logorhythmics. At this stage, the psychoeducation of parents is extremely important, as they should not escalate the problem in the child's eyes, correct it while speaking, and at all costs strive for communicative and linguistic correctness.

What are articulation defects?

In everyday work, children's speech therapists deal with a group of articulation defects called dyslalia, consisting in the incorrect implementation of one sound, several sounds, or even all, the so-called babble.

The most common dyslalia are:

various kinds of lisp sound ś, ź, ć, dż, s, z, c, DZ, CZ, dż, Sz, ż, t, d, n, their lateral realizations,

Rania - concerns the sound (r),

Voicelessness, which consist in pronouncing voiceless voices (e.g. b-p, d-t, g-k, z-s, w-f, ż-sz), faulty pronunciation of sounds k, g (most often replaced by t, d),

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Speech apparatus

The proper functioning of the articulation apparatus (lips, tongue, palate, dentition, cheeks), phonation apparatus (larynx, pharynx, nasal cavity), respiratory apparatus (lungs, bronchi, trachea), hearing organs, and the central nervous system are necessary for the proper formation of speech. . Malfunction of any of the above. Systems will imply speech therapy intervention. When the parents report their child to a speech therapist, he will conduct a diagnostic process in which he will determine the level of linguistic and communication skills and select appropriate methods and techniques. Sometimes it will indicate the need to deepen the diagnosis with a specialized examination, e.g. surgical - in case of malocclusion, audiological - in case of hearing impairment, etc.

What does the work of a speech therapist look like?

Speech therapy work is carried out in stages. In the beginning, exercises are conducted to prepare the articulation, phonation, and breathing organs for proper work. Tongue clapping, snorting lips, puffing up the cheeks, yawning, pronouncing vowels, blowing, recognizing sounds. In the next part, the specialist causes disturbing sounds, starting with the easiest one, explaining its place of articulation, showing its correct position, e.g. in a mirror or in a picture. Teaching by imitation, apart from eyesight, it involves hearing, encouraging people to make inarticulate sounds.

He combines the evoked sound with other sounds, then words and sentences. Until it is automated and incorporated into colloquial expressions. The exercise material is selected by the speech therapist in a thoughtful manner and adapted to the child's abilities. An important aspect of working with a child is regularity and rhythmicity, in which parents actively participate and continue exercises at home. It is important that in the case of a parent having a speech impediment. A speech therapist should be provided by a family member who does not have this defect.

Speech disorders and school difficulties

Speech disorders translate into the child's school difficulties. The way a child talks depends to a large extent on his or her learning progress. The child mispronounces the sounds he learns, names and writes down the learned letters incorrectly, and then reads them incorrectly. At the first stage of education (when the didactic material is not very extensive). The child replaces some sounds with another in words and simple sentences.  Then agramaticisms, distortions of longer words, and difficulties with the correct structure of sentences appear.

There may be problems with auditory analysis and synthesis. When learning to read, we will notice a persistent spelling, combining sounds into words, distorting words with a similar sound. The child's handwriting, in which there are specific errors, e.g. the use of double signs, soft, voiced, and voiceless consonants. Children with speech disorders usually function at school below their abilities, mistakes made in writing qualify their works to the lowest grades. Therefore, a child with a speech impediment should receive specialist help in overcoming their problems in school conditions. So that unpleasant experiences do not affect their further educational fate.

Parents, if you hear that your child is pronouncing sounds or words incorrectly, don't wait for the child to improve on its own. The sooner your child starts speech therapy, the better the results will be.