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Speech and Language Disability

Speech and Language disability, in general, refers to the atypical development of language of a person, and can usually be detected early in the childhood. Speech disability specifically refers to a problem in pronouncing various words and producing sounds, whereas language disability individually refers to hindrances in comprehending the meaning of words and sounds.

What causes it?

Some of the main causes may include –

  • Neurological disorder

  • Damaged vocal cords

  • Hearing loss

  • Cleft lip or palate

  • Muscle weakness

  • Brain damage due to an injury

  • Down Syndrome

  • Autism

  • ADHD

How is it detected?

Paediatricians and family doctors contribute to the early detection of SLI. Other specialists such as audiologists and speech-language pathologists may also be consulted.

Following are some of the tests which may help in the detection of SLI in children:

  1. Denver Articulation Screening Exam (DASE)

  2. Early Language Milestone Scale 2

  3. Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (Revised)

  4. Prosody-voice screening profile

  5. Dynamic evaluation of motor speech skills (DEMSS) manual.

How can it be treated?

Mild speech disorders might now require treatment at all times, whereas other forms might require some kind of speech therapy. Speech therapy may include facial and throat muscle- strengthening exercises, breathing control exercises, developing familiarity with problematic words and sounds. Some treatments also include medications for helping people who might have developed anxiety while having SLI.

Preventions and Precautions -

  1. An early detection and plan of action can go a long way.

  2. It is important to differentiate between speech delay and speech disorder.

  3. Do not indulge in activities which may strain or damage your throat muscles or vocal cords.

  4. Dealing with the anxiety of having SLI can help build confidence and improve more effectively.


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