As a parent, you want the very best for your child. When serious challenges arise, it can feel like the world has stopped turning and you can’t catch your breath. Luckily, most problems that pop up in childhood can be treated, including speech impediments. If your child has a speech impediment, you might be wondering why. Here are three common causes of childhood speech impediments.
Sometimes, a speech impediment originates in the child’s brain. For example, recent studies suggest that stuttering is a result of faulty connections between the hearing parts and the speaking parts of the brain. In children with a stutter, structural abnormalities have also been observed within the bundle of nerves that links the brain’s hemispheres. Apraxia of speech, where the child is unable to coordinate the muscle movements needed for speaking, is generally caused by damage to the parietal lobes. Central dysarthria makes it difficult to form and pronounce words, and it is usually caused by damage to the brain from a tumor, stroke, or injury. Treatment for these challenges typically involves treating the root causes and getting speech therapy.
At other times, speech impediments stem from mouth issues. One example of this is tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia. This condition is marked by a shorter, thicker, or tighter lingual frenulum than normal. The lingual frenulum is the ribbon of tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Tongue-tie makes it difficult for the child to make certain sounds. Other common culprits are certain orthodontic issues. Misaligned bites, such as an open bite or overbite, can cause speech impediments, according to Mi Smile Journey Orthodontics. In this case, treatment could be as simple as orthodontic treatments. One more example to note is when a cleft lip or palate causes articulation impairment.
If your child has delayed speech or is unable to speak at the correct developmental norms, Healthy Hearing suggests that they might have some level of hearing loss. With impaired hearing, it is extremely difficult for a child to learn how to make the correct sounds to form words and verbally communicate. Hearing loss can be measured in loss of volume, as well as loss of pitch. This means that some sounds and voices will be harder for some children to hear than others, affecting speech in different ways. These issues can usually be corrected with auditory devices and speech therapy.
While you are probably anxious to help your child in any way that you can, it is comforting to know that there are many innovative ways to help them overcome their speech impediment. Deciphering the cause of the impediment is a critical first step.
Read this next: Common Parenting Myths You Shouldn't Listen To