Addressing Speech Delays in Young Children

Most of us have no issue with speaking and even sometimes speak more than one language. However, the ability to speak actually stems from an extremely complex process. Infants begin to learn to speak by watching and listening to their parents, siblings, and those around them. 

At a young age, infants will attempt to mimic what they hear by making various sounds and trying out their voice. While it may not sound like any words quite yet, it is the infant’s effort at communicating with others and the very basis of their future language. 

When a child does not begin verbal expression within the normal time span expected of them, parents may begin to worry. Speech delays may be frightening to parents, but they are actually quite common and, in some cases. can be easily addressed through early intervention programs. Additionally, a visit to the chiropractor may be helpful in improving speech and spurring speech development in children who are struggling with their speech abilities.

What Causes Speech Delays in Some Children?

Speech delays are temporary delays of speech that occur in some children. In about 60 percent of speech delay cases in children under age three years old, the problem resolves itself without medical intervention. 

There are several different reasons for the delay, including:

Hearing Loss

If your child doesn’t respond to loud noises or doesn’t react when you speak to them, they could be experiencing hearing loss. Since they’re unable to hear your voice, they don’t know how to mimic it and a central part of learning to speak is disrupted. 

Neurological Problems

A child’s brain is still developing. Neurological problems, or issues related to the brain and spinal cord, may affect speech development. This includes a wide variety of potential conditions, including cerebral palsy and Down syndrome.

Developmental Disorders

Developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, could result in speech delays. Parents may notice that their child is only speaking a few words when they should have a wider vocabulary. The child may have difficulty with communication, be unable to understand language, or experience awkwardness in social situations. 

Structural Problems

Issues with the structure of the mouth may result in speech delays. These issues may include problems with the palate (or roof of the mouth), teeth alignment, or tongue. Your child’s pediatrician should notice these structural issues, and you may notice that your child struggles to make or imitate sounds. 

Infection

Speech delays may result from infections like meningitis, encephalitis, or even the common cold. Since these infections interfere with your child’s nervous system, it can affect speech. The nervous system is connected directly to the brain, which uses it to communicate with the rest of the body. Since the muscles of the mouth respond to the messages from the brain that come through the nervous system, any interruption or interference with those messages could result in a speech delay. 

Environmental Factors

A child’s upbringing may affect speech development. If they aren’t exposed to enough conversation or speech, they have nothing to imitate. Their language development may be hindered. Another environmental factor may be that a child is raised in a noisy or chaotic situation in which they are unable to process information, struggle to pay attention, or are unable to distinguish the sounds of language among other sounds.

How Can Chiropractic Care Help Improve Speech Development?

Chiropractic care for children can provide a number of helpful health benefits. Chiropractors mainly work with the nervous system, which controls all areas of growth and development, including speech. Other areas that chiropractors can help children with include:

  • Improved functioning of the spinal cord, resulting in better communication between the brain and the body
  • Help with neural brain development
  • More muscle tone and coordination
  • Improved immune system
  • Decreased inflammation throughout the body

You may be surprised to find out that all of these factors can play a role in your child’s speech development, and therefore, working to improve them can simultaneously improve speech delay problems. 

Because the spinal cord is connected to the brain, proper alignment of the spine is essential to good health. When a chiropractor adjusts the spine, it can allow the body to function more smoothly. The resulting lack of interference between the brain and spine allows for better communication, making speech smoother and easier for the child. 

Speech delays may begin in other areas of the body, such as the mouth or ears; however, since the body is an interconnected system, it will seek to heal itself whenever possible. Chiropractors aim to improve the overall health of their patients. They work on assisting the body to heal itself, freeing up the body’s energies to focus on speech delays. 

Even after speech problems are repaired, regular chiropractic care can improve health and well-being in adults and children. Chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive treatment method that focuses on the cause of the speech problem without resorting to medication or surgery.

Dr. Tim Swift proudly serves San Clemente, San Juan, Dana Point, and the surrounding areas of Orange County, California.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Dr. Tim Swift

Dr. Tim Swift

Dr. Tim Swift combines his chiropractic expertise with regenerative medicine to bring a passion for restoring health, mobility, and vitality to help his community feel and function better.

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