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Speech and Language Problems in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Speech and language problems mean your child has trouble speaking or saying words. Or your child may find it hard to understand or explain ideas.

Hearing problems can cause speech and language delays in children. All children with speech and language delays should have their hearing tested. Certain disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, can also cause a delay. Speech and language problems may also run in families.

A child can overcome many speech and language problems with treatment such as speech therapy. Treatment works best when problems are caught early. Speech therapy helps your child learn speech and language skills.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Talk, play, sing, or read together instead of letting your child watch TV. These activities help your child's brain develop. Make reading a part of your child's daily routine.
  • Ask your child to point to familiar items and make the sounds that go with them.
  • Teach your child the names for toys and other common objects.
  • Speak slowly and clearly with your child.
  • Involve your child in conversations. Gently encourage your child to talk to others.
  • Don't imitate your child's unclear speech or constantly correct your child. You can help your child more if you rephrase, repeat, and teach the names of things in a positive way.
  • Make sure your child goes to all appointments with the speech therapist.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line or speech therapist if:

  • Your child is not making progress as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.