Speech, communication and language development are always at the heart of each and every child’s learning as well as the link to other areas of the child’s development. Without these skills in speech, language and communication, a child will not reach their full potentials. According to a report by the Charity ICAN, one out of ten children, about three children in every classroom have difficulties in communication that may require a help from a specialist (http://www.ican.org.uk). With this number of children with communication difficulties, it is very vital to have practitioners who are more knowledgeable to support these kids in speech, language and communication skills.
It is very evident that there is an increasing number of children who are entering the education environment with language and speech problems. This speech will highlight some of the main causes of language and speech difficulties along with the effects this can have on the other areas of the child’s development. It will also highlight on the major measures to be taken to effectively boost the children’s communication skills.
The effects of language and speech difficulties
There are many factors that can cause difficulties in language and speech in children, these include:
Childhood illness- a child with chronic ear infection can have a lot of difficulties in language and speech development. In this infection persist, there will be fluids in the ear and this will impact on the child’s hearing. This affects how a child will process the language and hence result in delayed language and speech skills acquisition.
Use of bottles and dummies- A prolonged use of bottles and dummies by kids can adversely affect their language, speech and communication skills. Before kids learn to say a word or a sentence, they explore their voices through producing different sounds and noises. So, with a prolonged use of bottles and dummies will make the children adapt the sounds of these bottles and they will hence be using their voices less often. The teat from the dummy or bottle can also disrupt the tongue and lips movement at the front of the mouth and this leads to a distorted speech.
Complications in using the oral muscles-children communications skills can also be affected by oral motor disorders. A kid with a oral motor disorder will find it very difficult in using their tongue, jaw and lips’ muscles. This will result in much difficulty in speaking as well as feeding.
Developmental difficulties- this will affect the kids with Autistic Spectrum because they will find it very difficult to understand verbal or non-verbal skills.
Birth difficulties- Dysathria is a condition that affects the muscles that are used for speech and hence leading to language and speech difficulties. This is mostly caused by changes to the brain during pregnancy and also at birth.
Lack of simulation-kids learns through watching others. They copy language by observing the behavior and actions of the others around them. If the kids do not receive adequate simulation, they will end up having difficulties in communication skills. The literacy runs an initiative that is titled, “talk to your baby” so as to support early language simulation. They state that, “lack of early language stimulation can lead to language delay, and sometimes literacy and learning difficulties that then extend well beyond early literacy development and can be extremely costly or difficult to remedy.”
Impacts of language, speech and communication skills
Language, speech and communication skills are very vital for promoting other areas of learning. A child’s with communication difficulties, their overall development will be affected. The impacts of child’s language and communication difficulties vary depending on the individual needs of the child along with the severity of these difficulties. The following areas could be adversely affected.
Play- play is vital for children’s development, structuring their confidence as they learn to think about problems, to explore and also to relate to others. When a child gets older, they start using languages to relate to others in the games. The other children start incorporating rules to the games. For a child to play the game he/she must follow the rules, but if they had difficulties in communication, they will obviously be left out and hence this would lead to low self esteem and loss of confidence. This will also affect the child’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
Friendships- a child with difficulties in communication will find it very difficult in mingling with the others and hence their friendship with other children will be much compromised and this will lead to losing a lot from the others.
Literacy- difficulty in understanding and processing language can lead to delays in acquisition of phonic and reading skills.
Adapting the communication methods for these kids
Since different children will have varying level of severity, there are different methods that can be employed to individual children to support their problems.
Praise the childeren’s efforts- praising a child on what they have done well will raise the child’s self esteem and confidence, hence boosting their participation.
Guided activity-Every time you talk with a child with this difficulty, always use a simple language or phrases.
Slow down communication- give the child time to listen, think and work on what has been said. Rushing a child may make them think that they have failed. Children will be more likely to answer questions if they feel comfortable and are given the opportunity to participate.
Use of visual aids-this could be a very successful strategy for training children with communication difficulties. In everyday’s communication, hand actions and gestures could support a conversation and also engage a child. Visual aids could be used to help children in understanding the day to day routine and making decisions.
To conclude, I would say it would be important for us to adapt the communication methods for the kids that are well suited for them to develop their good language, speech and the overall communication skills.
Effects of speech and language difficulties in children
The choices made
The main reason that I chose this topic is because everyone here has come into contact with a child with language, speech or overall communication skills difficulties. So it is very vital for us to understand the difficulties that these kids pass through so that we could be able to help them out of this problem. This is so because we are now the adults that these young ones are looking for help. Hence, it is very vital if we understood these difficulties so that we shall be able to help these children. Through this, I was sure that we shall understand how the language and speech difficulties can really impact on the young one’s overall development. Through this we shall be able to identify the extent of the problem and administer the best possible solutions.
Also, one day we were all kids. We have seen many kids grow and hence through this we know the many requirements of a child in learning and the acquisition of communication skills. So I decided to choose on this topic to boost our knowledge on caring for these kids and also to be responsible adults. This is a topic that people think that they know everything that should be done but I had to dig out to come up with facts about it so as to substantiate on what others knew. For instance, on how language, speech and communication will impact on the overall development of the child, one could point out the social, personal and emotional development. This looks at how a child will develop self esteem and confidence and also at how children make decisions and choices. It is really important to learn the ways in which these communication problems could be modified because a kid with a communication and language difficulty may find it vey difficulty to express their preference and needs, and this makes it very difficulty to make their own choices and decisions. So the development of acceptable communication skills is very reliant on the help from the adults like most of my audience. Children may refrain from engaging or entering social institutions where they have difficulties in interacting and participating to the fullest this can adversely affect the their social and emotional difficulties. So it is very vital that I could address this issue.
Courtney from Study Moose
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