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  • speech problemBulol. Such an austere word of the Filipino tongue.  As you may come to notice, there isn’t a single English definition for it. It may mean that one stammers, slurs while speaking, or talks differently in his or her native tongue and is generally difficult in varying degrees to understand. Before we delve into the schooling a young child with speech impairments, let’s examine and define what they typically are.

    Your child’s vocabulary and speech delay: what you can do about it
    Generally, by 18 to 24 months, a child may be able to utter 20-50 words, and usually by age two, be able to string them together such as “Ball Big” or “Feet dirty”. At three, there is a noticeable improvement in your child’s vocabulary, as he or she can begin combining three or more words in a sentence, such as “Mommy play jump jump!”. These are just basic guidelines, and there may or may not be cause for concern.  

    However, if your child tends to slur, salivate profusely, can not imitate words, is not able to follow simple two step requests without gestures, or does not react to audio stimulus, your best bet is your pediatrician who will most likely recommend an OAE (otoacoustic emission test) to check for inner ear response, or BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response), which measures the brain’s responses to sound. If it is clear that there is no extensive hearing loss, your doctor may give you options to encourage speech, or refer you to a developmental pediatrician and then to a speech therapist.

    The causes of speech delay
    There are many causes for delay in speech.  Some maybe as simple as genetics, or just a reasonable lag in development in that area.  However probable causes may be problems with the tongue or palate, or oral-motor defects, meaning that the brain has trouble communicating with the tongue, most of which professionals may be able to resolve within a few weeks, months or years, depending on severity.



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