What is Speech Defect?
Children may commence to have speech defects at an early age. When is the most common starting point? Stammering and stuttering often commence in the three-to-six-years age group. Once established it may remain a lifetime problem and a very embarrassing one as the child becomes older. Most adults who stutter can date it back to infancy, and occasionally a specific event. Speech defects cover a wide spectrum, from speaking indistinctly (also very common) to repeating the same syllable, or speech being actually delayed.
Many parents will talk to their children in the same jargon as they use. Therefore they encourage a persistence of baby talk, which itself is unnatural and unlike normal adult speaking. This will tend to consolidate in infants’ minds that what they are doing is the norm and therefore may be continued.
Alternatively, when they mentally measure themselves against the yardstick of what is occurring around, they will automatically tend to adjust to their surroundings. Nobody likes to be different from others, and they will gradually “right themselves.” So, parents, use your normal speaking voice with your growing children. Don’t engage in baby talk except as an occasional fun thing.
Speech Defect Treatment
Make every effort to discover, and then eliminate any probable cause. If there appear to be stresses or anxieties, then remove these if at all possible. There may be obvious anxiety-producing situations, special events that appear significant. With some preplanning and forethought, many of these may be correctable.
A sense of warmth, love and affection, of letting the child know often that they are loved, that they are wanted and are important to the family circle, all play a tremendously important role. In older children the problem is much greater, for by now it has probably become firmly established. In recent years, relaxation therapy has been found to be helpful in many cases. Various other measures for severe cases are also available at specialised centres, and referral there by the family doctor is the best avenue.