My Childhood Speech Delay and Problems; Auditory Discrimination & Expressive Language Disability
No one could understand me at 4 years old; at age 8 my speech was almost normal
I said my first word at 18 months, and by 4 years old I was talking a lot, but people couldn't understand most of what I was saying.
I had two problems that gave me a great deal of trouble. The first was an auditory processing problem. Although my hearing tested fine, my brain heard sounds wrong. An easy example is when someone said "pat" I may have been hearing "cat" so when I went to repeat the word back, I said "cat"... To me it sounded like the same word that I was hearing, but of course other people couldn't understand me.
The second problem that I had was fine motor control of my tongue and mouth movements. I had trouble putting my tongue in the right place to say the sounds.
That's my understanding of my problems. I still have the therapist's reports and at 4 years old I was described as a very bright girl who couldn't be understood. I could do simple addition and subtraction, my knowledge of vocabulary was about a year ahead, and I could comprehend what was being said to me, but when I talked the words came out all messed up.
From a Psychologist's evaluation of me at 4.8 years old:
"She was very talkative despite my inability to understand much of what she said. She was very resourceful, expressing herself through gestures and motions, when she could not make herself understood verbally."
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cosmic_bandita/3441078230/
Page updated 5/31/2011
Catching up on my speech
I went to a special preschool and then a special kindergarten class. I had lots of speech therapy. By the time I was in 2nd grade, my speech had improved enough that I was declassified. I still continued speech therapy through 4th grade, but on a much less intensive schedule.
In speech therapy, the therapist showed me how to make sounds. She often had a mirror that I could look at so I could learn how to form the words.
I'm not sure how the auditory discrimination got corrected. Somehow practice helped my brain to figure out what sounds I should be hearing. To this day, I have more trouble than most people in understanding others if there is a lot of background noise. I'm just not as good at filtering out the voice from the background. I do rely on looking at people's lips as they talk to me.
However, I think practice is a big help. I used to not like music because everything would sound cluttered and singers' voices were hard to understand, but now I love music. In that case, practice plus clear speakers/headphones have made a world of difference.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sanjoselibrary/2948048604/
Brilliant in some ways
and a bit abnormal in other ways...
Just how the brain is, it seems.
A Very Unscientific Survey
Does your child have a speech problem?
Books about Children with Speech Delays - it's actually quite common!
Possible Reasons for a Speech Delay - so many choices, best to have your child evaluated
My parents were very worried when I was a kid. If you have a child with a speech problem, you're probably worried too. The good news is that if your child appears to be bright, then the speech will probably get better.
With emphasis on early intervention, more kids are getting evaluated at a younger age, and some of them just have a maturation delay, which means that they would have acquired their speech without intervention. However, other kids might have a problem like I had, which was a disorder that needed treatment. If that's the case, then early intervention is very helpful!
For more information on these causes, check out this article.
- Hearing Loss
- Maturation Delay (late talker, common in boys)
- Expressive Language Disorder (this is what I had)
- Psychosocial Deprivation
- Mental Retardation (IQ under 70)
Sometimes things aren't exactly as they seem.