Addressing Pressing Concerns From Parents About Dysphagia And Its Role In Speech Development

Posted on: 3 April 2015

Anytime you have a child that is showing signs of a medical problem, it can be a trying situation. However, when you have a child that not only has a medical problem, but one that could affect his or her natural development, it can be even more trying. This is the case with pediatric dysphagia, which can increase the chance that your child has a difficult time with speech development. 

Pediatric dysphagia is a condition that affects the throat and esophagus, hindering the child's ability to swallow as usual. Because swallowing is a natural reflex during speaking, a little one may avoid talking or start to form words and sounds in an abnormal way. Here are a few of the most common questions concerning dysphagia and its role in speech development.

How soon will you be able to tell that a child's speech is affected by dysphagia?

Because dysphagia is often diagnosed in the early days of life, even the beginning phases of speech can be affected. Dysphagia is typically marked by particular difficult with swallowing and eating. Therefore, the presence in an infant is easy to diagnose. However, surgery may have to be prolonged until your baby is older.

How effective is speech therapy to help overcome the issues caused by dysphagia?

If your child has had issues with dysphagia, it is likely you will be sent to a speech pathologist for an evaluation during the first few years of life. In most cases, the primary physician will wait until surgery has been performed before tending to speech problems if the case is severe. However, if the condition is not severe, speech therapy can help teach your child how to communicate clear sounds in spite of their difficulty swallowing. Either way, speech therapy will be a crucial aspect of treatment and recovery, as it is very effective in overcoming the challenges of this condition.

If your child has esophageal surgery due to dysphagia, how soon after will speech therapy begin?

This will depend greatly on the age of your child when the surgery is performed. In infancy, there will be no need for speech therapy, but only a speech pathology evaluation to assess whether your little one is making clear sounds. In older children, you should expect therapy to begin soon after surgery.

Even though dysphagia can be a huge factor in the development of speech in children, with the right treatment, it can be overcome. For more information, contact Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head or a similar location.