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Speech & Language Therapy

Speech and language disorders can occur when a child or adolescent has difficulty creating sounds to form words correctly or fluently or has problems with his or her voice or resonance. There are many reasons for disorders to occur, including hearing loss.

Speech problems can include the inability to make sounds clearly, having a raspy voice or stuttering (repeating sounds or pauses when speaking). 

Language problems are different from speech problems. Language is the words we use to share ideas, and language difficulties can include understanding, talking, reading or writing. 

Speech disorders affect millions of people and their ability to communicate. According to research estimates:

    • 5-8% of U.S. children ages 3-17 have language delays or disorders.
    • Boys are nearly twice as likely as girls to have a communication disorder.
    • Some of these can be overcome, while others are lifelong conditions.
    • Early intervention with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help a child make the most of their speech capabilities and/or develop alternative methods of communication. 

Untreated speech and language disorders can lead to:

Early language delays (ELD) in children preschool-to-second grade. ELDs can show severe verbal speech impairments, which over time can become milder and more selective deficits. Children can have a hard time with:

Receptive language, such as following direction and understanding spoken and written language 

Expressive language, such as asking questions, naming objects or putting words together in a sentence

School-aged spoken language disorder (SLD)—also known as oral language disorder—can show significant impairment in acquiring and using language.

With the right strategies, children with speech disorders can be successful in school and life. The earlier children acquire strong language skills, the better.

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