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What’s keeping your child from performing on grade level? Better Hearing and Speech Month

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Children with communication disorders frequently do not perform on grade level because they have difficulty understanding and talking, struggle with reading and writing, misunderstand social cues, show poor judgment, have trouble taking tests, and may avoid school. Is this your child?

This May, as part of Better Hearing and Speech Month, the 72nd MDG Audiology Department continues its public education efforts around the communication health of our children by providing information for parents to identify and prevent speech and language disorders.

Children with communication problems have difficulty learning to listen, speak, read, or write. Parents and teachers should refer any student who shows signs of a speech and language problem to the school-based speech-language pathologist for an evaluation immediately.

"It's crucial that children are identified and begin treatment as early as possible because summer break will only compound the consequences of a communication disorder if left untreated," Tinker audiologist Capt. Sylvia Valverde says.

Parents should look out for the various types of speech and language disorders that affect school-age children, including:

· Speech sound disorders (difficulty pronouncing sounds)
· Language disorders (difficulty understanding others and expressing themselves)
· Cognitive-communication disorders (difficulty with thinking skills including perception, memory, awareness, reasoning, judgment, intellect, and imagination)
· Stuttering (fluency) disorders (interruption of the flow of speech that may include hesitations, repetitions, or prolongations of sounds or words)
· Voice disorders (quality of voice that may include hoarseness, nasality, or loudness)
For more information about speech and language disorders and prevention, visit www.asha.org. To find a speech-language pathologist in the local area, go to www.asha.org/findpro/. Tricare beneficiaries should contact Tricare.