Parents guided on tools to help children overcome speech delays

February 16, 2016; Dubai, UAE: British Orchard Nursery, UAE’s largest chain of pre-schools, in collaboration with Child Early Intervention Medical Centre, educated parents on young children’s speech and hearing progress and helped them identify the problematic areas with focus on the role of teachers and parents in a child’s early development. Early intervention in the case of speech-sound disorders (SSD) in children could be a differentiating factor in their over-all emotional and physical growth. Experts in the UAE have noticed a rise in the speech and sound problems among young children with prevalence of disorders up to 8-9 percent. Approximately 5-8 percent of preschool children have language delays that continue throughout their school years and adulthood, while 15 – 20 percent of two-year-olds are delayed in their expressive language development.

The interactive session also discussed the tools parents can use to help their children overcome SSD, which included activities such as playing finger games, telling nursery rhymes, singing songs and reading, asking simple questions and story-telling among other measures.

Vandana Gandhi, founder and CEO of British Orchard Nursery said, “Research confirms that the first five years in a child’s life form the building blocks for later life. It is important that we be vigilant in our observation of physical and mental progress at this age. This can only be achieved through a combined effort of teachers as well as parents. We, therefore, encourage such sessions at all branches to identify concerns and educate parents. We take pride in the fact that at British Orchard Nursery, we strive to create a positive environment where every child’s progress is monitored thoroughly”.

Discussing the various stages of speech and hearing progress in children from birth to age five, Rugaiyah Majed Hamidaddin, Speech-language Pathologist at CEIMC explained to parents and teachers the typical speech and language developmental milestones. She also focused on the ‘red flags’ – indications that a child may not be meeting those targets – stressing on early intervention to rectify the problem. Focusing on the most common speech and language disorders she identified common issues, such as stuttering or stammering, which should be taken seriously at a young age.

Research suggests that children with SSD can be at risk of reading difficulties at a later stage due to poor auditory, phonologic, and verbal memory skills. It can also significantly affect their social and emotional functioning including an increase in anxiety, attention problems, depression and low self-esteem. Studies also indicate that the longer it takes to diagnose a functional speech disorder, the less positive the outcome.

“Speech and sound disorders, if not detected at an early stage, can lead to various behavioural issues among children,” reiterated Rugaiyah Majed, adding, “Simply put, the earlier a child receives help, the better his language outcome will be. I’d also advise parents to first get a hearing test done if their child is not responding normally since hearing disorder could be the root of the problem.”

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