Speech and language dysfunctions

Speech and language disorder means that the patient has difficulty to produce speech or understand speech, or both. Children may use incorrect or altered words, they may have difficulty to inflect words and difficulty to find words when speaking. They may find it difficult to understand questions or complicated instructions.

Usually, the child first has an appointment with a phoniatrician, and the situation is discussed and examined closely and treatment is planned. If necessary, the child may also be examined by a speech therapist, a psychologist, or an occupational therapist. A language disorder, or specific language impairment, is most reliably diagnosed in preschoolers, approximately at the age of four years and older. The child and their family can receive help from an AAC instructor, special needs teacher in early childhood education, rehabilitation instructor, and social worker.

A language disorder is considered to be difficult, if a child who has turned three (1) cannot express themselves verbally, (2) has a significant difficulty to understand language, (3) difficulties in communication hinder the child’s possibilities to participate in regular interaction and learning, and (4) the child needs communication methods (e.g. pictures or signs) that support or replace speech in almost all situations