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What is the best way to manage speech disorders in children?

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Quick Answer

Speech therapy is recommended for children who exhibit severe symptoms of a speech disorder, according to MedlinePlus. In children with subtle signs of speech impediments, the symptoms may disappear on their own without therapy.

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Full Answer

Intellectual disability or hearing loss may cause a child to develop a speech impediment, however, it's common for there to be some degree of disfluency when the child is first starting to talk, explains MedlinePlus. It's possible that the child may develop a stutter if too much attention is paid to broken speech patterns.

Speech disorders are specific to articulation, fluency and vocal disorders, and should not be confused with language disorders, states MedlinePlus. Stuttering is a common example of disfluency. Articulation disorders may be caused by changes in the muscle structure and bones used when forming words and sounds. Brain and nerve damage can also cause an inability to articulate properly. Voice disorders have a number of potential causes, including stomach acid, overusing the vocal chords, nerve damage, throat cancer and noncancerous growths such as polyps.

A speech-language pathologist can help to determine the extent of the disorder and proper treatment, according to WebMD. Some therapeutic methods can be conducted at home. It's important to communicate often with the child by talking, singing and reading to him. Encouraging repetition provides reinforcement and practice. Additionally, children exhibiting signs of speech disorders should be tested and treated for possible middle ear infections.

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