Although more than 5 million children in the United States have a speech, language, and hearing disorder, parents are often uninformed and unsure about what to do when they suspect their child. This May, and every May since 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has used the May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) celebration to provide parents with information about communication disorders to help ensure that they do not seriously affect their children’s ability to learn, socialize with others, and be successful in school.
Speech and language problems can occur at any time in a child’s life. They can be caused by accidental injury, illness, or inherited by birth. Child speech and language problems include:
- Articulation problems (“wabbit” instead of “rabbit”)
- Language disorders such as the slow development of vocabulary, concepts, and grammar.
- Voice disorders (nasal, breathy, or hoarse voice and speech that is too high or low)
Parents who suspect their child has a communication disorder should see an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist. These professionals identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders. Speech-language pathologists work in schools, private practice, hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, health departments, research laboratories, and other health education settings.
Parents who think their children may have a speech, language, or hearing disorder or know of a loved one who has a communication disorder should access ProSearch athttp://www.asha.org/findpro/, ASHA’s online directory of audiology and speech-language pathology programs, to find an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist in their area.