DEALING WITH SPEECH PROBLEMS
is normal for children of 1-1/2 to 7 years old to occasionally
repeat words, sounds and phrases, to hesitate or to use filler
words. Ten to 15 percent of preschoolers have some kind of
speech disorder. These speech problems occur because of number
of factors, including physical maturity, heredity, and environment.
Hearing problems is one of the most common causes of speech
imperfections, but even children with normal hearing may go
through speech imperfection.
Here are the three most common speech problems.
Stuttering: At two to three years of age, it's very common
for children to stutter at the beginning of a sentence, and
this problem is more likely to happen when a child is tired,
excited, or in a competitive situation, such as trying to
express herself better or faster than her peers.
2. Lisping: Lisping is another common speech problem
when young children are learning to talk. Preschoolers typically
make substitutions of an easy sound for one that is more challenging
for them to make, such as "th" for "s," causing them to say
"thand" for "sand." They also may substitute "w" for "r,"
saying "wabbit" for "rabbit."
3. Lengthy pauses: Another speech imperfection is the appearance
of long pauses between words or thoughts. This is a sign that
a child is thinking in order to find the correct word or thinking
about how to structure her next sentence.
What You Can Do
In the early stages of stuttering, parent education and guidance
may be all that's needed to create a more relaxed environment
for your child to express himself. It is very important that
you talk or read to your child in order to help him understand
and learn more words and thus increase his vocabulary. Studies
have shown that children who are read to and spoken with a
great deal during early childhood will have larger vocabularies
and better grammar than those who aren't. Following are a
few tips that will help you nurture your baby's language development.
Read to your child. The best way to help your child develop
language skills is to read to her. Research shows that
kids who are read to on a regular basis are likely to
develop meaningful language--saying their first real words--earlier
and more effectively. Make sure to point out the car,
the ball, or the puppy in the book and say the words clearly.
Parents can start with simple board books and graduate
to picture books and longer stories, as their child gets
older. You can also tell stories to your child by creating
adventure, interesting characters in the story and giving
it a happy ending.
with your child all the time. Narrate the day as it evolves.
Tell your child, for instance, "After some time we are
going to go out. So why don't we take a bath first, get
dressed and then go out."
dinner as a family. Studies show that families who eat
together have kids with better verbal skills.
Enjoy music together. Young children love music and movement.
When they listen to lively songs, like "Old McDonald Had
a Farm," they learn about the world around them and the
rhythm of language.
Follow your child's lead. If your little one seems interested
in a particular picture in a book, keep talking about
it. If she seems intrigued by a boat, show her more boats
and talk about them, too. Repeat her babbles back to her,
ask questions, and interact with her. You can even try
recording your child on a tape recorder and playing it
criticize your child's articulation or speech patterns.
Instead, repeat his statements back to him with the correct
pronunciation or word usage. Give your child lots of praise
for his efforts. Avoid pressuring your child to speed
up her language skills or correcting her speech imperfections
on field trips. A trip to the zoo, the aquarium, or a
children's museum will open up a whole new world for your
child. As an added bonus, she'll want to learn the names
of all those fascinating creatures and fun activities