Speaking is important, as it is one of the main ways that we communicate with one another. Without speech, communication becomes much more difficult and less fluid, though still possible when it comes to methods of communication like sign language, a fully formed language in and of itself. For many people, though, sign language is inaccessible, and verbal speaking is the main way that they communicate directly with the other people in their lives.
This is why it is important to screen hearing disorders and other such language disorders such as receptive language disorders early on in life. It has actually even been recommended that hearing screening should not only occur at the time of birth, but at the age of one month – and further testing in the form of diagnostic audiologic testing by the time that any child who doesn’t pass the first screenings by the time that they reach three months of age. This early screening allows early intervention to begin by as young as six months of age, a relatively early age by any means. But early intervention can make a huge difference.
After all, children with severe hearing impairments and even receptive language disorders can still learn sign language quite well when they are introduced to sign language early on in life, as is the case with any other language. While sign language can be learned by adults, teaching it to young children is by and large easier for fluency and greater understanding. Understanding how loss of hearing originates is also very important.
For instance, much hearing loss is progressive as people age and can be caused by environmental factors, such as listening to loud music or working at any given construction site without the use of the proper hearing protection. However, hearing loss is children is usually hereditary – and is more common than many people might think. In fact, the data that has been gathered on this subject more than backs up this claim, showing that as many as three children out of every 1,000 children are born already dealing with a considerable amount of hearing loss, allowing for early intervention.
Fortunately, cochlear implants have been hugely successful at restoring at least some level of hearing for children with everything from hearing loss to receptive language disorders and more. Cochlear implants have even been able to be used in children who are just one year old, but it is important to implant this device and follow it up immediately with speech therapy. After all, a speech therapist can help these children to begin to comprehend and make sense of sound, something that they have not had to do before. Having a cochlear implant and working extensively in speech therapy before 18 months – about a year and a half – in age, children with genetic hearing loss can develop better abilities to speak to peers and comprehend sounds than other children who do not have these cochlear implants or who get them later on in life.
A speech pathologist can be ideal for helping with many other types of expressive language disorders and receptive language disorders alike. When receptive language disorders and expressive language disorders (or even a combination of the two, as can be present in many children all throughout the country) are found in children, speech therapy for children can be hugely helpful to help them make better sense of language. Even cases of stuttering can be benefited greatly by speech therapy for children, especially when the children in question are helped early on in life.
And there are so many speech pathologists working in this country, ready to help children with receptive language disorders and even more. In fact, there are up to 145,000 of them currently employed and building their careers here in the United States alone. This means, of course, than it is easier to find a speech pathologist that can meet your needs than ever before, either for yourself or, as is more likely the case, for your child or your children.