Communication Disorder

We need language skills to communicate. And you need to communicate to learn. Reading, writing, gesturing, listening, and speaking are all forms of language. The better your communication skills, the better you will do in understanding and learning new things.

There are many different reasons why children have problems communicating. there are some listed below.

Sometimes you might need to get help from professionals, but there are still a lot of things you can do to help.

  • Talk a lot to your child. This will help your child learn new words.

  • Read to your child every day. Point out words you see.

  • Point to signs in the shops and outside when you go on trips.

  • Speak to your child in the language you know best.

  • Listen and answer when your child talks.

  • Get your child to ask you questions.

  • Give your child time to answer questions.

  • Set time limits for watching TV and using computers. Use the time for talking and reading together.

What are communication disorders in children?

A child with a communication disorder has trouble communicating with others.

He or she may not understand or make the sounds of speech.

The child may also struggle with word choice, word order, or sentence structure.

Speech Disorders

  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech

For speech to happen a message has to travel from the brain to the muscles in the mouth. Having apraxia of speech means that the messages are not getting through correctly. A child with CAS will often know what they want to say, but they might now be able to say much at all. They will not learn speech sounds in a typical order. The child's speech can improve but it would take a lot of work.

Most of the time, the cause of CAS is unknown. In some cases, damage to the brain causes CAS. Damage may be caused by a genetic disorder or syndrome, or by a stroke or traumatic brain injury.

  • Dysarthria

Dysarthria happens when you have weak muscles due to brain damage. When the muscles in the mouth are weak it is more difficult to talk. It is a motor speech disorder that can be mild or severe. Anything that causes brain damage can cause dysarthria, such as​ Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS​Cerebral palsy or Muscular dystrophy.

  • Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

People who have an OMD may also have problems with talking, swallowing, and breathing through their nose. Some children push out their tongue when they talk, drink, or eat. This is called tongue thrusting or fronting, and it is one type of OMD.

OMDs may be caused by several factors: Blocked nasal passages because of tonsil size or allergies. When the nasal passages are blocked, people may need to breathe through their mouth instead. Anything that causes the tongue to be misplaced at rest or makes it difficult to keep the lips together at rest. Sucking and chewing habits past the age of 3 years.

  • Speech Sound Disorders 

Children often learn sounds like p, m, or w, while other sounds may take longer to master, like z, v, or th.

Most children can say almost all speech sound by 4 years old.

Most children can say almost all speech sounds correctly by 4 years old. A child who does not say sounds by the expected ages may have a speech sound disorder. 

  • Stuttering

All of us say a sound or a word more than once, or we may add 'uh' or 'um' to the sentence. Those times when we do not speak smoothly. This is normal is it only happens once in a while.

When it happens a lot, it may be classed as stuttering.

This could be because of 

Blocks. This happens when you have a hard time getting a word out. You may pause for a long time or not be able to make a sound. For example, "I want a ...... drink."
Prolongations. You may stretch a sound out for a long time, like driiiiink.
Repetitions. You may repeat parts of words, like dr - dr - drink.
They may be times when a person will stutter more, and other times when they are very fluent. It can change day by day.

Stress or excitement can lead to more stuttering. But it is more than just how something is being said. Stuttering can make the body tense and that leads to more problems with the speech.

  • Voice

We have all had times when we have had trouble talking and we lose our voice. It could be that we were partying and singing along to all the songs, our cheering our favourite team. Most voice problems last only a short time, but others can last a lot longer.

Vocal Cord Nodules and Polyps: Your vocal folds are inside your larynx, or voice box. When you talk, air moves from your lungs through the vocal folds to your mouth. The vocal folds vibrate to produce sound. 

Vocal fold nodules are growths that form on the vocal folds.

Polyps can be on one or both of the vocal folds. They may look like a swollen spot or bumps.

Language Disorders

  • Below the age of 5

Children may learn a language in the same way but that doesn't mean they learn it at the same time.

Some children start to talk very early and understand what is being said to them. Others may not talk much and have problems with understanding. If you are worried then keep an eye on it, but be aware that there is no set time with children to learn a set thing.

Possible signs to look out for.

Some children have problems understanding, called receptive language. They may have trouble; Knowing how to take turns when talking with others, understanding what people mean when they use gestures, pointing out objects in pictures or following directions.

Some children have problems talking, called expressive language. They may have trouble; using correct pronouns, like "he" or "they" or knowing how to start a conversation and keep it going. They might have problems talking to different people and in different places.

 

  • Selective Mutism

Children with selective mutism may ​have an anxiety disorder or be very shy. They may want to be alone and not talk to others or it might be that they are afraid to embarrass themselves in public.

It may be that they will talk at home but not say a word outside the home. 

 

  • Autism

People with autism may find it difficult to have conversations with others and might find it hard to pick up on social skills.

They are some people with autism that may not talk at all and there are others that talk very well. But they all face some challenges making friends and communicate socially.

A person with autism may be hard to understand. They may repeat words or phrases they have just head or even words they heard days or weeks earlier (echolalia).

They may talk in a singsong speaking voice or use a robotic monotoned voice. Instead, of using words they may use challenging behaviours to communicate what they want.

See Autism page:

  • Cleft Lip and Palate 

A "cleft" is a split or a divide. Cleft lips and palates happen before birth. A baby can have a cleft lip, cleft palate, or both. A cleft lip may be on one or both sides of the upper lip. The split may also be in the upper jaw and gum.

A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth. The front part is the bony hard palate. The back part is the soft palate, made of muscle. A cleft palate can be on one side or both sides of the mouth.

A child can have a submucous, or hidden, cleft palate. This happens when tissue, called the mucous membrane, covers the cleft. It is the pink tissue that you see in your mouth. The cleft may be hard to see, and you may not know it is there.