Developing intelligible speech is not so easy. It means that your child has to correctly produce enough sounds to be understood. So what could be causing your child’s difficulty in producing intelligible speech?
There can be several causes. It may be because he hasn’t learned the correct placement or manner of production for certain sounds. It could be because he is only able to inconsistently produce the sounds he has mastered. It is also possible that your child’s speech is difficult to understand because of structural problems or oral weakness.
The role of a speech pathologist is to evaluate why your child’s speech is difficult to understand. Finding the underlying cause/s for your child’s reduced speech intelligibility is essential to correctly treating the condition. Understanding the cause should aid in the rate of progress toward improved articulation.
If your child is over the age of 3 and their speech remains difficult to understand by you or others, consider consulting with a speech pathologist.
It is common for infants to drool. Although less common in the very young child, mild drooling is still considered normal. Drooling in infants and children to age 2 is generally due to an immature neurological system and or teething. Over the age of 2, drooling is no longer considered typical and further assessment is warranted.
After age 2, drooling is less socially accepted. If there is no direct medical cause, drooling may be secondary to the poor development of oral motor skill and or strength of the muscles of the head and trunk. This lack of development can lead to difficulty managing saliva. Chronic droolers may show minimal or reduced awareness of saliva loss.
When to seek help:
Does your child drool beyond his lower lip?
How frequently do you need to wipe his/her chin?
Change their shirt?
Is your child aware that he/she is drooling?
Is your child’s mouth most often in an open position?
Is your child able to completely close both lips during swallowing?
Does your child have difficulty managing foods or liquids?
Where to seek help:
If you have concerns about your child’s drooling, consider an oral motor evaluation of his/her oral motor skills, conducted by a speech and language pathologist. Treatment of drooling may improve your child’s feeding, speech and hygiene.