Speech Therapy

Speech Language Disorder-Associated Red Flags

Problems related to speech and language often cannot be treated properly due to the lack of an early diagnosis or recognition. A speech language disorder can be identified by parents or paediatricians through a few developmental red flags. The existence of certain risks that can potentially cause developmental delays, if recognised and tested early can lower the rate of disabilities in the future.

Speech Language Disorder Recognition: Parents can watch out for the following patterns in their children which can help them seek professional assistance at an early stage.

  • If the child rolls before he/she is 3 months old, parents should get the child evaluated for hypertonia. Hypertonia would lead to excessive muscle tone and can cause problems like dementia.
  • Making a fist on a continual basis when 3 months old, could mean a neuromotor dysfunction which needs immediate evaluation.
  • In case the child shows no response to environmental stimuli, he/she could be having problems with sensory organs. A sensory impairment evaluation should be done.
  • Dropping of the head backwards when made to sit (when the child is 4 moths old) could mean lessened muscle tone. The child could be possessing hypotonia. Also, failing to sit cross-legged when the child is 6 months old could mean hypotonia.
  • Not reaching for objects at the age of 5 months would mean a problem with motor, cognitive and visual skills and they need to be assessed.
  • A child usually starts to smile between the 4-6 months period. Failing to do so could suggest problems with vision.
  • If the child fails to produce sounds when he/she is 6 months old, hearing capacity of the child needs to be assessed.
  • A child is supposed to learn at least 10 words by the time he/she reaches 18 months. In case the child is unable to produce any new sounds other than the initial ones (like mama), an auditory expressive language evaluation is necessary. A child should be able to produce 2 word sentences by the time he/she is 2.
  • Loss of social skills or communication skills at any age can be related to autism spectrum disorders.

A speech language disorder exhibits the signs of its existence right from the childhood. It is necessary that parents learn to study any such signs in order to provide the child with the necessary treatment.

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