A child with a communication disorder has trouble communicating with others. He or she may not understand or make the sounds of speech. The child may also struggle with word choice, word order, or sentence structure.
There are several types of these disorders. They are:
Communication disorders may be developmental. Or they can be caused by:
Boys tend to be diagnosed with these disorders more often than girls. Researchers don’t know why. Children with these conditions often have other mental health problems.
Each child may have different symptoms. But these are the most common symptoms in a young child:
Most young children with these disorders are able to speak by the time they enter school. But they still have problems with communicating.
School-aged children often have problems understanding and making words. Teens may have more trouble understanding or expressing abstract ideas.
Most children with these disorders are referred to a speech-language pathologist. This is a speech expert who treats children who are having problems communicating. Your child may also see a child psychiatrist. That is often the case if the child has emotional or behavioral problems.
A full evaluation may involve:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
A speech-language pathologist will work with your child to improve his or her communication skills. Treatment is often a team effort. Parents, teachers, and mental health experts may also be involved. Treatment may include:
Experts don’t know at this time how to prevent these disorders in children. But finding them early and taking action right away can help with your child’s development and school issues. They can improve the child’s quality of life.
You can do certain things to take care of your child with a communication disorder:
Call your child’s healthcare provider if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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