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Help Your Child Communicate: Recognize Speech and Hearing Issues

By HERWriter
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 recognize hearing and speech issues, help your child communicate Auremar/PhotoSpin

Would you recognize the signs if your child had a speech or hearing issue?

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), 64 percent of parents are unaware of the early warning signs that their child might have a speech or language problem.

And 57 percent of parents don’t understand that early detection of a problem can help their child get up to speed faster and reduce costs for medical treatment.

Be aware of the early warning signs of speech and hearing problems:

Language Disorder

Children who have language problems may be slow developing skills to understand what is said to them or slow learning to communicate. Warning signs include:

• Infant doesn’t smile or interact with others, doesn’t babble, and makes only a few sounds or gestures like pointing.

• Toddler doesn’t understand what others say, uses few words, is hard to understand when he or she speaks and does not put words together into sentences.

• Child between 2-3 years of age has trouble playing or talking with other children and is slow developing early reading and writing skills.

Speech Sound Disorder

Children with this type of disorder may say certain sounds incorrectly. Children ages 1-2 years may say p, b, m, h and w incorrectly. Children ages 2-3 may say k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly. These children may be difficult to understand even for people who talk with them frequently.


Children with this condition have a lack of fluency in the way they speak. Around age two-and-a-half to three they may struggle to say some sounds or words, may repeat the initial sound in certain words or may stretch out the first sound. Long or frequent pauses while talking may also be a warning sign for stuttering, as words seem to get stuck before they make any sounds.

Many young children stutter for a short period of time then “outgrow” the problem. If stuttering persists, talk to a speech-language pathologist.

Voice Disorder

Children who naturally speak with a hoarse or breathy voice or who have a very nasal sounding voice may have a voice disorder.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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