Speech pathology [puh-thol-uh-jee] is the study and treatment of speech and language problems. Speech pathologists are healthcare professionals trained to assess, diagnose, and treat speech and language problems. Learn more about speech pathology.
Many people take for granted how important language is in our lives. It is used to remember, to plan, and to make sense of our world. We also need language to form social bonds with others.
Children’s language skills often develop slowly at first and then speed up as the child grows. Children learn language in different stages. After children begin babbling (at about four months of age), it becomes easier to know what they are saying, what they want, and how they are feeling. If children do not babble or imitate any sounds by age seven months, there could be a problem with their hearing or speech development.
Speech problems, or disorders, occur when a child cannot produce speech sounds correctly or has problems with their voice. Language disorders occur when a child has trouble understanding others or sharing their thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
Speech pathology [puh-thol-uh-jee] is the study and treatment of speech and language problems. Speech pathologists are healthcare professionals trained to assess, diagnose, and treat speech and language problems.
Speech and language disorders are common in children but are also diagnosed in adults. Treatment includes speech and language therapy, sensory integration therapy, and occupational therapy.
There are differences between a speech disorder and a language disorder. If your child has trouble producing speech sounds correctly or stutters when talking, they may have a speech disorder. If your child has trouble understanding what others are saying or has difficulty sharing their thoughts, then they may have a language disorder.
Language and communication skills are part of the developmental milestones that your child’s doctor will screen for during regular well-child visits. The screenings will take place when your child is 9, 18, 30, and 48 months old.
During well-child visits, your child’s doctor will ask you about their language and communication skills. If your child’s doctor has concerns about your child’s speech or language skills, they will likely rule out other problems that could be causing the speech or language delays. For example, hearing problems may cause speech problems.
If your child’s doctor suspects a speech problem, your child will probably be referred to a speech pathologist for treatment.