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A child may benefit from speech-language pathology services if he cannot communicate as well as other children at the same age, or if he has difficulty with feeding or swallowing. Speech-language pathology services should be considered if a child demonstrates any of the following symptoms:
A child with a language disorder may have difficulty understanding language, following directions, or choosing appropriate words and combining them correctly in sentences. Language disorders can affect a child’s ability to interact with others and to learn. Some characteristics of a language disorder at different ages include:
A child with an articulation (speech sound) disorder may have difficulty producing individual sounds. As a result, the child may substitute an easy sound for a harder one (e.g., “tun” for sun), omit sounds (e.g., “ool” for school) or distort sounds (e.g., “shlun” for sun). In some cases (e.g., apraxia of speech), the child may have difficulty combining the movements of speech sounds in sequences, as required for words and sentences. Articulation errors often make speech very hard to understand. Some characteristics of an articulation disorder at different ages include:
A child with a fluency disorder (stuttering) has frequent abnormal disruptions in the flow of speech. Characteristics of a fluency disorder include:
A child with a voice disorder has either abnormal vocal cord structure or abnormal function. Characteristics of a voice disorder include:
A child with a resonance disorder will have either velopharyngeal dysfunction (a problem with the valve that closes off the nose from the mouth during speech) or blockage in the nose, throat or back of the mouth. Types of resonance disorders include:
A child with a feeding or swallowing disorder may have one or more of the following signs or symptoms:
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