Archive for the ‘Ear Infections’ Category

Is My Child a “Late Talker”? How Do I Know?

“He’s a boy…boys talk later than girls.”  “She is the baby of the family and her older brothers are just talking for her.”   “My brother didn’t talk until he was five.”   “Einstein didn’t talk until he was five.”  “Wait until he is three and then we will see how he is doing.”   These are just a few of the many responses that parent receive from well intentioned friends, family and doctors when parents confess that they are worried that their child is not talking as much and/or as clearly as he or she should be for his/her age.  In most cases, a  parent’s “gut feeling” is correct.  Why wait and see what might happen when you can get an evaluation today from a professional who is trained to identify children who have communication delays?  While it is true that each child develops at his or her own pace, there are certain milestones that should be attained by specific ages.  Children who are behind in meeting those benchmarks can often quickly catch up with some speech therapy.  Speech therapy is fun, and can’t hurt, so why do parents often wait and worry?  Usually because we parents don’t want our children to be “behind” and silently hope that they will just catch up.  While some do, many won’t.

It is difficult to predict which children will catch up on their own.  What follows is a list of  identified “red flags” or “risk factors”  that, when  present, indicate that a child is unlikely to attain speech and language milestones without professional speech therapy support:

  • Family has a history of speech or language delays
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Limited babbling as an infant
  • Produces few consonant sounds
  • Does not imitate sounds or words
  • Does not point
  • Has limited eye contact
  • Uses only a few gestures to communicate
  • Speaks with mostly nouns or just a few words
  • Appears to have a hard time following directions
  • Does very little pretend play
  • Has a hard time being understood by people other than family

The best course of action is, if you have a nagging worry, consult a speech language pathologist.  Many offer free consultations.  Wouldn’t it be great to have your mind put to rest?  If there is a delay, the sooner that your child receives help, the faster he will catch up.  Bottom line:  asking for help from a certified speech language pathologist is the way to go!

Posted by on November 20th, 2012 Comments Off on Is My Child a “Late Talker”? How Do I Know?

 

Will Ear Infections Affect My Child’s Speech and Language

 

They certainly can.  Ear infections, (otitis media), can create a temporary hearing loss, resulting in the child missing language or confusing what he/she has heard.  The reason that young children have more ear infections than older children is that young children have small ear tubes.  In fact, up to 80% of children under age three have had at least one ear infection, and often more. Most of the time, the fluid in the ears is not infected (Otitis Media with effusion) and clears itself out within 30 days.  When the fluid in the ear is not infected, there are usually no symptoms except that the child has allergies or a head cold.  When the fluid becomes infected, (Acute Otitis Media),  your child may experience a fever, tug at their ears, be irritable, complain about ear pain or have trouble sleeping. Antibiotics are often prescribed to clear the infection.

The preschool years are an important time for speech and language development. If your child is hearing “muffled speech” because of ear infections, it will be difficult for him or her to learn to speak.  A speech and language delay requiring treatment may result.  To avoid this, close attention to ear infections is recommended;  check with your child’s doctor if you suspect that your child has an ear infection.  If you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language development, seek the advice of a speech-language pathologist.

Posted by on November 2nd, 2012 Comments Off on Will Ear Infections Affect My Child’s Speech and Language