Overcoming speech problems

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - 10 percent of all Americans have a speech problem. Whether it's the result of a physical handicap, poor hearing or slow development - there's treatment for all ages. In this Healthcast, we show you how it's transformed one child's ability to communicate.

When Cade Lognion was just two years old, he had a vocabulary of only 25 words. To find out what was at the root of this delay, Cade's mom, Kelly, had a pediatrician look into the problem.  "I was just wondering what could have caused it," says Kelly, "he had hearing problems, he had a lot of ear infections."

CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital Speech-Language Pathologist Stacy Doyle says there are certain triggers and birth defects that can cause speech problems.  "Whether it be a delay in how their brain is developing or whether there's been some sort of injury or accident the issue," says Doyle, "the parts of the brain that control speech and language are not functioning as they should."

Doyle says there are certain red flags that people should look out for when it comes to recognizing a speech deficiency. If the child is not speaking at 18 months, not putting words together at age two or are hard to understand at three years old, parents should contact a physician for an evaluation. If there's any sudden slurring or trouble forming sentences for adults, medical help should also be sought.

"If you can't express yourself, if you can't tell others how you feel or what you need, it can be very frustrating for you and the person who's communicating with you," says Doyle.  Therapy can range from a few months to a few years.  For Cade, it's been three years - but the results have been great.  "He went from saying less than 25 words to saying five word sentences within a year," says Kelly.

Cade will complete his speech therapy in August and take his increased vocabulary and communication skills to kindergarten next fall.

*If you believe your child or loved one needs to be evaluated for a speech problem, first contact your physician. From there, you will be given a referral for services.

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