Speech may sound odd because too much air is escaping through the hose (hypernasality) or too little air is coming out through the nose (hyponasality)
Signs and tests
The following tests can help diagnose speech disorders:
Denver Articulation Screening Examination
Early Language Milestone Scale
Peabody Picture Test Revised
A hearing test may also be done.
Milder forms of speech disorders may disappear on their own.
Speech therapy may help with more severe symptoms or speech problems that do not improve.
In therapy, the child will learn how to create certain sounds.
The prognosis depends on the cause of the disorder. Usually, speech can be improved with speech therapy. Prognosis improves with early intervention.
Speech disorders may lead to psychosocial problems associated with ineffective communication.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if:
Your child's speech is not developing according to normal milestones
You think your child is in a high-risk group
Your child is showing signs of a speech disorder
Mental retardation and hearing loss make children more likely to develop speech disorders. At-risk infants should be referred to an audiologist for an audiology exam. Audiological and speech therapy can then be started, if necessary.
As young children begin to speak, some disfluency is common. Children lack a large vocabulary and have difficulty expressing themselves. This results in broken speech. If you place excessive attention on the disfluency, a stuttering pattern may develop. The best way to prevent stuttering, therefore, is to avoid paying too much attention to the disfluency.
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Choi SS, Zalzal GH. Voice disorders. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund VJ, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2010: chap 203.
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Sumana Jothi, MD, Clinical Instructor, UCSF Otolaryngology, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.