Mental Health of a Child with Speech Issues. Find the best child therapist near you.
The growing child is constantly adjusting and adapting, taking in
information and interacting with the world. Such speedy growth requires
parents of children to be alert to the changes. Parents have the
responsibility of looking after child’s basic needs and of monitoring
developmental milestones. There is a general generally set path that
children follow, attaining particular milestones at a particular age. They
usually begin their speech process by age 3 months, wherein the child
‘coos’ in response to the outside world. They imitate their caregivers and
gradually move to using bigger phrases and sentences. Children are
proficient in communication around the age of 5 years.
Deviating from these milestones at the usual time may be reason for concern. Screening and assessments are done by medical professionals to determine the underlying causes for these. Reasons for speech issues may range from hearing impairment, deprivation, intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy and other developmental disorders.
A child with a speech impairment/delay may have reduced clarity and fluency of spoken language along with a peculiar voice quality. These may lead to a nasality, harshness or breathiness in their speech. The lived experience of children with speech disorders may be coloured by impaired quality of life. It has been studied that children with speech and language deficits are at risk of developing mental health problems while good communication acts as a protective factor against mental health problems. Speech delays have an impact on their personal, social, academic and vocational life throughout childhood and adulthood:
- Academic sphere: Spoken language forms the backbone of reading and writing, which are important aspect of mastering a language. Without being able to use language to express, the child’s overall efficiency gets hampered, limiting the grasp of knowledge that they could otherwise have. These children are seen to perform poorly on tests and have lower attendance.
- Behavioural issues: Language difficulties are strongly correlated with behavioural problems. These children are more likely to be involved in antisocial and disruptive acts. This may be attributable to the frustration experienced by these children.
- Self-esteem: Children with speech and language needs are at risk for being bullied. Being teased for their speech impacts the self-esteem of a child with speech difficulties. Their inability to articulate may widen into a perceived inability to do other tasks as well, making them perceive themselves in a negative light.
- Anxiety: Children who have been ridiculed for their speech deficits may develop anxiety around speaking in general. They may hence reduce their social interactions and depend on their caregivers’ help during all activities.
- Irritability: As a child with speech issues, foremost is the concern regarding accurate communication of thoughts. Owing to this, the child may experience frustration at being unable to communicate their thoughts and have casual conversations.
- Social isolation: Children with speech and language difficulties are found to have a limited peer circle. Not being understood by others may also give a notion of perceived lack of support or the tendency to socially isolate. Social isolation would limit the social and emotional development of the child.
- Access to therapy: It was found that those with speech and language impairments may have unrecognized mental health needs. Often, other mental health issues get overshadowed by speech deficits. Moreover, psychological therapies highly rely on verbal communication for effectiveness.
To reduce the psychosocial impact of speech difficulties on the child, parents can ensure certain things:
- Providing a relaxed environment for the child to speak: Devoting time to conversing with their child allows the child to feel valued and allows for an experience of patient listening that they are otherwise deprived of
- Initiating casual discussions with the child: Such conversations allow child to practice speaking in a safe environment before they test it in the real world
- Avoiding interrupting the child when they are speaking: Interrupting the child may further hinder their self-esteem, believing that they are unable to meet with the demands of the world
- Encouraging correct speech instead of criticising the faults: Pointing out the positives encourages the child to attempt speaking while criticising them makes them want to isolate or shy away from speaking
- Speaking slowly to the child- This sends a message that it is okay to speak slowly and allows the child to speak at their pace without feeling pressured
- Avoiding speaking on the child’s behalf: The child must feel a sense of independence and speaking for them will hinder that
- Openly speaking about the child’s speech: The child must understand that they are different from others and this must be normalized for them to accept themselves
- Informing the concerned school faculty about the disturbances: This allows for the faculty to fully understand the child, take note of their special needs and creating a safe space
Also read, What are the signs of stress in a child? Find a child
psychologist in Kolkata.
Children tend to stutter while learning. However, healthcare providers must be consulted when the child’s issues are prolonged and are starkly interfering in the way of child’s progress and development. The health care team for speech deficits comprises of a physician, speech-language therapist, audiologist, psychologist, occupational therapist and social worker. Healthcare providers identify causal factors for difficulties, and manage the issues using memory retraining, cognitive reorganization and language enhancement techniques to help the child find meaningful roles in their lives. Early identification and management might avoid the chances of any psychosocial disturbances to the child, enhancing their quality of life.
For the best speech therapists near you , please refer the following centres,
MPOWER- THE CENTRE (MUMBAI)
1/155, 15, Nyaymurti Sitaram
Patkar Marg, Khareghat Colony,
Hughes Road, Mumbai - 400007
+91 22 23828133
+91 22 23856228
MPOWER- THE CENTRE (BENGALURU)
2nd Floor, 2983, 12th Main,
Indira Nagar, HAL, 2nd stage,
Bengaluru - 560 008.
+91 80 25209712
MPOWER - THE CENTRE (KOLKATA)
Unit N210A-211, 2nd Floor,
North Block, Ideal Plaza,
11/1, Sarat Bose Road
MPOWER - THE FOUNDATION (MUMBAI)
22B, vasantrao N Naik Marg,
Opp. Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo,
Mumbai - 400 007.
+91 22 2386 8650
+91 22 2387 5147
+91 81087 99299
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