May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month

I finally got around to seeing The King’s Speech. It was a great movie and I was fascinated by how stuttering (or stammering) is much more than a physical problem.

If you have a young child, you probably notice some things she says that may concern you. Is it normal that you can’t understand your 3-year-old sometimes? Is that cute “baby talk” still cute when he or she is 4- or 5-years-old? Is some stuttering “normal” for young children?

Since May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, I reached out to Jean E. Israel, MA, CCC-SLP, the Lead Speech Language Pathologist at Mountainside Hospital Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology for some information on pediatric speech. She gave me a list of what’s normal and what are some things that may indicate a child has some speech issues:

Birth to Six Months   

  • Developmental or medical issues
  • Decreased or absence of response to sound
  • Decreased of interest in speech
  • Decreased/Limited eye contact
  • Feeding problems
  • Very limited vocalizations
  • Difficulties with attachment
  • Lack of interest in socializing

Six to Twelve Months  

  • Limited sound production, lack of variety or amount of sound production
  • Groping/Searching movements when attempting to make or imitate sounds
  • Oral-motor problems such as excessive drooling, trouble with solid foods, intolerance to touch in and around the mouth
  • Decreased interest in sounds-making toys, radios, T.V., music, voices
  • Developmental or medical issues
  • Decreased of response to sound
  • Decreased of interest in speech
  • Decreased/Limited eye contact
  • Feeding problems
  • Very limited vocalizations
  •  Difficulties with attachment
  • Lack of interest in socializing

Twelve to Eighteen Months 

  • Fleeting attention to activities, toys and people
  • Does not appear understand any words or directions
  • Limited sound production, lack of variety or amount of sound production
  • Groping/Searching movements when attempting to make or imitate sounds
  • Oral-motor problems such as excessive drooling, trouble with solid foods, intolerance to touch in and around the mouth
  • Decreased interest in sounds-making toys, radios, T.V., music, voices

Eighteen to Twenty-four Months 

  • Not using words some of the time to communicate
  • No interest in imitation
  • Won’t play games
  • Little jargon or babbling
  • Grunting and pointing as primary means of communication without vocalizations or words
  • Fleeting attention to activities, toys and people
  • Does not appear to understand any words or directions
  • Limited sound production, lack of variety or amount of sound production
  •  Groping/Searching movements when attempting to make or imitate sounds
  •  Oral-motor problems such as excessive drooling, trouble with solid foods, intolerance to touch in and around the mouth
  • Decreased interest in sounds-making toys, radios, T.V., music, voices

Two to Three Year Olds

  • Not combining words together into 2-3 word sentences/phrases
  • Needs constant repetition of simple directions (not just non-compliance)
  • Using only nouns, no verbs or other parts of speech
  • Poor/Decreased eye contact
  • No rapid or consistent increase in number of words understood and used
  • Does not tolerate sitting for listening activity/looking at books, etc. for short periods of time

Three to Four Year Olds

  • Not speaking in full sentences (not necessarily correct grammar, but nice variety of word types)
  •  Not using “I” to refer to self
  • Cannot relate personal experiences, even in simple telegraph sentences
  • Not being able to understand a child about 75% of the time

The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) is a great source of information for parents and is the national organization for speech-language pathologists and audiologists.  Parents can always use this website to look for additional information regarding their child’s speech language and hearing development.

Some typical issues that parents shouldn’t worry about in their child are:

  • Intermittent disfluency or stuttering 2-4 years of age, especially for a very verbal child
  • Between 2-3 years of age multiple grammatical errors
  • Inability ability to say sounds such as s, r, z, and th up to 3-4 years of age
  • A child younger than 3 years of age not being understood all of the time.  Adults usually understand a 3 year old child 75% of the time.

Our recommendation for parents also has been that they know their child best.  If they have strong concerns regarding speech and language development or hearing abilities they should seek an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist or audiologist.

Here’s a list of other local speech therapists:

TIKES  (Therapeutic Intervention for Kids and Educational Support)
Barbara Goldfarb, Speech Pathologist
Millburn, NJ
973.376.5888

Speech and Hearing Associates – South Orange
South Orange, NJ
973.763.2841

Chatham Speech and Language
186 Main Street, Chatham, NJ
973.635.5757

Creative Speech Solutions
151 Summit Avenue Summit, NJ
908.598.0228

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps you were mislead, when you concluded: “stuttering (or stammering) is much more than a physical problem.” Stuttering is a fundamentally a physiological problem – a neurological disorder – and not a psychological problem. Though indeed the anxiety that develops when a speaker knows a block is imminent will often exacerbate stuttering – so if this is what you mean, then yes, there is a psychological component.

    The therapies that were shown in the King’s Speech were common at the time the movie takes place, but are not accepted today.

Comments are closed.