Communication is generally defined as “the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or in-formation by speech, writing, or signs.’ Communication skills starts developing from infancy, much before the emergence of the first word and continue to develop throughout life. Communication disorders includes problems related to speech and language and in related areas such as oral motor function. The delays and disorders can range from simple sound substitution to the inability to understand or use of language.In present world, most of the people would have come across with some common causes of speech and language disorders like Hearing loss, Autism, Down syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), mental retardation or cleft lip or palate. However, many parents bring their chil-dren with communication difficulties for the evaluation when they would have already passed their critical age for language acquisition.
It is really important to remember that children have a “criti-cal period” for learning language. This is true no matter which communication tools and commu-nication strategies you choose to help your child to learn language. Children learn language best dur-ing early childhood (0-5 years) and after which language acquisition is difficult or slow and eventu-ally less successful. Do not wait and expect that your child will outgrow a communication problem in later years of life. Early spoken language disorders can also result in problems with academics, behavior and social communication skills. Early detection leads to early treatment and better is the prognosis. Here are some of the signs to help you determine if your child has a speech and language disorder.
It will help you to know about typical speech and language development. If you have identified the problem and has serious concerns regarding your child’s speech and lan-guage development it is very important to seek professional help. A speech language pathologist can determine if your child’s speech difficulties are age appropriate or if they would further benefit from speech-language therapy. A comprehensive evaluation with the help of interview and differ-ent standardized tests will help to determine whether the child has any other underlying issues and to decide the need for therapy services. Depending on the results of all the tests, she may also sug-gest appropriate home training activities to stimulate speech and language development and may recommend further evaluation by other health professionals such as an audiologist, ENT doctor, psychologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, neurologist or a pediatrician.