An Interview with Dr. Anjan Bhattacharya, Consultant Developmental Paediatrician, (MBBS(Cal); DCH (Lond); MRCP (Lond); FRCPCH, UK)
Many parents worry when their kids don’t speak at the right age. There are many concerns that they have and they need a specialist to answer them. Here we have Dr. Anjan Bhattacharya, Paediatrician who have tried to answer the queries which parents have over the speech delay or speech disorder of their kid.
1. Why can’t my child speak?
There are various reasons for speech delay/disorder, out of which the most significant reason is Autism (now-a-days called Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD). Although, ASD may not be the commonest or only reason for this!
2. What type of speech delay/disorder can be noticed in Autistic children?
The various types of communication problems/disorders faced by autistic children are :
i) Failure to speak;
ii) Odd intonation of speech;
iii) Imitative repetition of words;
iv) Pronoun reversal;
v) Non-sense rhyming;
vi) Idiosyncratic language forms
vii) Absence of babbling or gestures by 1 yr.
viii) Too early speech development
3. When do the first sign of reciprocal communication start in a child?
The first sign of reciprocal communication usually starts in a child at around 6 to 8 weeks of his life.
4. What is the first sign of Communication?
Crying is the first communication in a child. It is then unidirectional. The child cries, adults cater! Bidirectional communication is child’s first language development!
5. What is the first milestone in Speech?
The first milestone in the road to speech is Cooing or Vocalisation.
6. What is the first milestone in language?
Reciprocal Smiling (also known as Social Smiling) is the first sign of Reciprocal Communication
7. What is babbling?
Babbling is the second milestone in the road to speech and refers to the words spoken by a child which are a combination of vowels and consonants like “Ma”, “Da” etc. It starts generally 6-7 months after Cooing or Vocalisation.
8. By when should hearing deficit be detected to check for speech delay/disorder?
Hearing deficit should be detected as early as possible and certainly by the time the child is 3-6 months of age.
9. What are the reasons other than Autism for which a child may have Speech delay/disorder?
The reasons other than Autism for which a child may have speech delay/disorder are :
i) Isolated Speech Delay
ii) Global Developmental Delay
iii) Specific Language Disorders
iv) Down’s Syndrome
v) Asperger Syndrome
vi) Fragile-X Syndrome
vii) Golden Haar Syndrome
viii) Tourett Syndrome
x) Cerebral Palsy/Bulbar Palsy
10. What tests should be performed on a new-born child to detect speech problems?
The tests that should be performed on a new-born child are Oto-Acoustic Emission [OAE] test, complemented by Brain-Stem Evoked Response Audiometry [BERA], as necessary, after visiting a Developmental Paediatrician.
11. Should one take the speech delayed child to the doctor or to a speech therapist?
Pediatric Academies strongly recommend visiting a competent Developmental Paediatrician and to see a speech therapist only on doctor’s advice and supervision, to avoid untold risks involved in accessing healthcare services without doctor’s supervision. It is as dangerous as buying medicines without prescriptions!
Dr. Anjan Bhattacharya,
MBBS(Cal); DCH (Lond); MRCP (Lond); FRCPCH, UK
CONSULTANT PAEDIATRICIAN (Developmental)
Child Development Centre
Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Kolkata
For Appointments, call: (0)9830987419
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