What Causes a Child to Have a Speech or Language Disorder?

“The solution to adult problems tomorrow depends on large measure upon how our children grow up today.”

– Margaret Mead

No parent likes to watch his or her child struggle. And when the child is struggling to communicate, it’s reasonable to wonder “Why?”

While there is not one specific cause than can be attributed to all communication disorders, an estimated four percent of Canadian preschoolers experience significant challenges in this area.

Communication disorders in children typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • speech or articulation disorders, which occur when the child cannot correctly produce one or more sounds – using a ‘w’ for an ‘r’ for example;
  • voice disorders, including difficulties in producing appropriate pitch, volume and clarity;
  • language difficulties, such as delayed vocabulary development; and
  • fluency problems, like stuttering.

Such problems could stem from something as simple as other languages being spoken in the home (thus delaying the child’s acquisition of vocabulary), to strength or range of motion in the child’s jaw, tongue and lips (inhibiting their ability to form certain sounds), to other coexisting conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism and Down syndrome, which can lead to developmental delays.

But whatever the cause it’s important to know that help is available and early intervention can be key. If you suspect your child has a speech or language disorder, don’t assume they’ll outgrow it. Communication disorders can impact a child’s self-confidence and learning. Contact a Speech-Language Pathologist in your area to arrange for an assessment.

S.L. Hunter & Associates provides assessment and treatment for children in their development of speech, language and communication. Any parent with concerns in these areas is welcome to contact the clinic to set up an appointment. We are here to help.

The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. We can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at www.slhunter.ca.