3 Main Signs That Your Child Needs Urgent Speech Pathology

Speech disorders among children are a common occurrence. In the United States, many children have a swallowing or communication disorder. These kids cannot produce speech sounds fluently or correctly and may have significant problems with their resonance or voice. On some other occasions, they have trouble with expressive and receptive languages. If your child displays either of these symptoms, they need urgent speech pathology.

Who Is a Speech Pathologist?

These professionals are highly trained to treat people who have language, speech, and swallowing difficulties. A speech pathologist works with patients who have a wide range of communication disorders, such as swallowing, vocalization, word finding, stuttering, phonics, syntax, and issues with articulation.

Signs That Your Child Requires Speech Pathology

No one knows your child better than you. Even when no one understands what a child is saying, a parent does. As children grow, it is normal to make speech sound errors. However, what if problems with speech persist?

Most speech sound errors are associated with inappropriate musculature and coordination of lips. By the time your child reaches three years, everyone should understand most of the things they say. If this doesn't happen, they might be having a communication disorder. Here are the three main signs to watch:

1. Feeding and Swallowing Problems

Most kids with speech disorders also have swallowing problems. Swallowing occurs in three stages, including the oral phase, pharyngeal phase, and esophageal phase. However, some children have problems in one or all three stages.

Here are the symptoms to watch:

  • Stiffening their back when feeding 
  • Trouble breathing when feeding
  • Refusal to eat or drink
  • Crying or fussing when feeding
  • Frequently falling asleep when feeding
  • Coughing or gagging during meals

If you notice any of the above symptoms, your child might have a swallowing disorder and need urgent speech pathology.

2. Significant Speech Issues

You should take your kid to a speech pathologist if you notice common speech issues, such as:

  • Voice difficulties, such as hoarseness
  • Involuntary pause and repetition of sounds, cluttering, or lack of fluency
  • Trouble with articulation or distinguishing different sounds

3. Major Language Problems

If your child has a language problem, you may notice any of the following signs:

  • Inability to understand or produce sound
  • Problems with listening, reading, writing, reasoning, and speaking
  • Inability to understand social cues and common communication rules


If your child has a speech, language, or swallowing problem, you should schedule an appointment with a speech pathologist. Speech pathology is the only sure solution to common speech-related problems in children and adults. For more information, contact a speech pathology clinic in your area, such as Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head.