The prevalence of speech and language disorders (SLDs) in young children is a major public health issue. Individuals who experienced SLDs in childhood reported difficulties in their day-to-day lives and were limited in their long-term individual development and opportunities as a result. The inability to communicate effectively due to a speech or language issue has been linked to a decline in social and emotional well-being and a diminished ability to function in daily life. Costs to the person and the community can add up when someone has trouble communicating (Dashtipour et al., 2018). If the person develops criminal tendencies, requires more mental health services, is unemployed and needs continuing support, or benefits from adult literacy programs, the financial cost to society may be significant. A large percentage of people living in poverty also deal with SLDs, which implies that inadequate support services are often unavailable due to financial constraints. This paper aims to answer the question, “How does language impairment affect the social and behavioral development of a child?” by synthesizing and evaluating data from current research.
Types of Speech Disorders
People use language to express themselves and share their experiences with others. The head, neck, chest, and belly must work together to produce audible speech. The capacity to articulate words and phrases is impaired in patients with speech impairments Dashtipour et al., 2018). To put it another way, they are distinct from language problems (Sattorovich, 2022). People with speech problems have trouble producing the sounds necessary to communicate, while those with language disorders struggle to either acquire new vocabulary or comprehend what they hear (Sattorovich, 2022). Stuttering, apraxia, and dysarthria are all examples of speech disorders.
Stuttering is a speech impairment characterized by repeated pauses in the middle of a sentence. People who stutter often experience pauses in speech, known as repeats, blocks, and plosives. People engage in repetitive behavior when using the same sound, vowel, or phrase repeatedly (Shriberg, 2019). People have blocks when they have the words in their head but cannot articulate them. The term “prolongations” describes the elongation or drawing out of a certain sound or phrase (Shriberg, 2019). Stuttering’s signs and symptoms can shift with context (Shriberg, 2019). Stuttering can become more acute in stress, enthusiasm, or irritation conditions. Furthermore, some people may discover that particular phrases or noises exacerbate their stammer.
Humans’ ability to communicate is just one of several brain-controlled functions. The majority of the brain’s role in speaking is subconscious and automatic. To create speech, the brain first transmits impulses to various body parts (Terband et al., 2019). The brain sends signals to these structures, telling them when and how to move so they can produce the correct sounds (Terband et al., 2019). These speech signals, for instance, govern the opening and closing of the vocal cords, the movement of the tongue and the shape of the lips, and the direction of airflow through the throat and mouth. Motor skill impairment due to brain injury is referred to as apraxia and can manifest in any portion of the body (Terband et al., 2019). One who suffers from verbal apraxia, also known as apraxia of speech, has difficulty articulating words correctly while understanding what they mean.
Dysarthria occurs when injury to the brain weakens the muscles in the face, lips, tongue, or chest, making it difficult for the affected individual to speak. The causation of the muscle weakness is attributable to nervous system disorders and conditions such as facial paralysis resulting from the injury of the cranial nerve VI (Pommée et al., 2022). Besides, the most common cause of paralysis is the administration of the wrong medications to children, especially when giving vaccines (Pommée et al., 2022). Nevertheless, some of the key signs of dysarthria include trouble pronouncing words clearly, muttering, speaking too slowly or fast, speaking quietly, and having trouble moving the lips or tongue. For some children, monotone becomes more pronounced while they are experiencing uneven speech volume.
Effect of Speech Disorders on Child Development and Learning
Childhood issues with speech, language and communication can have serious and long-lasting consequences. While speech therapy may not be able to prevent these effects completely, it can help children mitigate them by providing them with the resources and knowledge they need (Wilson et al., 2019). Individual differences in the kind and extent of a child’s challenges, as well as those of their surroundings and personality, determine the nature and extent of the impact (Wilson et al., 2019). The timing, intensity, and quality of their speech therapy and other treatments also play a role.
Language development is one of the most fundamental talents that takes place during the early years of childhood. Children reach this developmental milestone when they start to comprehend and make sense of the environment around them and when they also develop the capacity to articulate their ideas, sentiments, and concepts about how they feel. When a person’s ability to speak and communicate is hampered or underdeveloped, it can have a negative impact on their social and psychological well-being (Feldman, 2019). In young children, an inability to make themselves acknowledged or to manage their feelings internally can lead to a variety of behavioral disorders, including self-isolation, temper tantrums, and other problematic behaviors.
The social and emotional lives of older children with speech challenges can be just as challenging. For example, children who stammer may suffer from low self-esteem, withdraw from social situations, and/or avoid classroom interactions for fear of being teased (Duffy, 2019). People with speech disorders may experience irritation and irritability because they know exactly what they want to say but struggle to put their thoughts into words that others can understand. A ground-breaking study that followed the same group of children over the course of twenty-nine years discovered that those who had experienced impairments in their development of receptive language abilities were more likely to experience social, emotional, and behavioral issues as adults. This research focused on kids who were falling behind in school because of their inability to understand spoken language. Researchers used standardized exams to analyze the receptive language skills of nearly seven thousand five-year-olds (Baylis & Shriberg, 2019). Researchers found that people in this group were more likely to struggle with mental health concerns than people who did not have linguistic deficiencies in childhood after following up with the same children at age thirty-four.
School can amplify the emotional consequences on children with speech and language difficulties. During this stage, they are immersed in a community of children their own age and are required to engage and socialize with peers who may be more developed socially and linguistically than they are (Lee et al., 2022). A child’s keen observational skills pick up on subtleties such as these, and when they become glaringly obvious, many children start to feel insecure about their own talents.
Children with speech and language disorders may have trouble concentrating and learning. This includes formal schooling and informal learning at home and in other settings. When a child has trouble hearing and comprehending what others are saying, this is called a receptive language deficit. It can be challenging for children to comprehend and retain knowledge when it is delivered in the form of a memorization task for use at home or school (Lee et al., 2022). A child’s performance on schoolwork and other responsibilities might suffer if they have trouble taking in and remembering spoken information and instructions. When trying to train a youngster, this might cause a lot of problems. If the instructions are solely offered verbally, and if there are several words or stages, the child with speech-language delay is more likely to have trouble following them.
Reading and spelling become a challenge when a youngster has trouble with their speech and language. Typically, the reading ability of a person is strongly influenced by one’s linguistic capabilities. Additionally, people who have trouble talking need to be taught to make connections between sounds and letters and break them apart for them to read and spell. While spelling may constitute a small proportion of learning, writing faces the greatest impact when a child suffers from speech problems. Scientifically, a child needs to observe or read, interpret the information and give feedback either through talking or writing. In writing, the child may have difficulties formulating letters on paper as their motor function cannot adequately arrange the alphabet in a meaningful manner (Baylis & Shriberg, 2019). Generally, children with speech-language disorders may find it extremely challenging to master important concepts in the learning environment.
A child’s perceived IQ may be lower than it is if they have trouble understanding and following spoken information and instructions. As a result, students may be assigned to the wrong classrooms. However, if the material is offered again or differently, the youngster may be able to catch up to their classmates. A child may also be labeled as rebellious if they do not comply with instructions (Baylis & Shriberg, 2019). Unfair punishment can emotionally damage a child and prevent them from trying again in school. People interacting with the child, such as parents, teachers, and professionals, should attempt to raise awareness of the child’s difficulties in developing typical speech and language abilities for their age.
In conclusion, speech disorders are more likely to retrogress the social, behavioral and learning growth of a child. Most disorders have been linked to the impairment of the brain’s motor skills which can lead to conditions such as dysarthria that manifests by facial muscle weakening. Besides, motor role impairment due to brain injury can result in apraxia, which inhibits the flawless expression of a child. Along with brain injury, young children may have disabilities in managing their feelings internally, which can cause expression problems and, ultimately, their social interactions. Children who stammer may suffer from low self-esteem and withdraw from social situations. In addition to stammering, people with speech disorders may experience irritability since they struggle to put their thoughts into words. The inability to structure thoughts effectively impounds difficulties in learning as they fail to give proper feedback in cases such as school. A youngster’s perceived IQ may be lower than it is if they have trouble following spoken instructions. According to the above studies, reading ability is strongly influenced by a person’s linguistic abilities.
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