NURTURE INFORMATION HUB
Speech and Oromotor Outcome in Adolescents Born Preterm: Relationship to Motor Tract Ingegrity
Gemma B. Northam, MSc, Frédérique Liégeois, PhD, Wui K. Chong, FRCR, Kate Baker, PhD, Jacques-Donald Tournier, PhD, John S. Wyatt, FRCPCH,Torsten Baldeweg, MD and Angela Morgan, PhD.
“Difficulties in speech and oromotor control are common in adolescents born preterm, andadolescents with injury to the CST/CBT pathways in the left-hemisphere may be most at risk.”
Teenagers with speech and language problems would generally have been identified in their primary years, however in some instances the teen may develop good coping strategies and it may have gone unnoticed.
Speech and Language Problems
The term speech disorder refers to difficulty with how you perceive and how speech sounds are produced.
Speech sound disorders may include:
Language disorders, by contrast, are problems with either understanding or expressing thoughts and ideas, such as having a restricted vocabulary or not being able to form accurate sentences.
Receptive language impairment: difficulty understanding what others are saying.
Expressive language impairment: difficulty expressing thoughts and ideas.
Mixed receptive-expressive language impairment: difficulty understanding and using spoken language.
Teenagers, particularly those who struggle with speech and language skills, may find it challenging to communicate with parents, other adults and teachers. The commencement of puberty, coupled with moodiness, hormones and sometimes impulsive behaviour can affect the way your teen behaves. Your teens desire to develop independence may limit their interactions with you and other adults and this may conceal the difficulties that they are experiencing.
Language difficulties can impact the teens ability to follow instructions, therefore making school more challenging. This can have long term affects on their learning, achievements and reaching their goals. Your teen may lack interest in school, and experience poor academic progress. These difficulties can have an impact on their emotional and social wellbeing and may cause behavioural problems. Often behavioural issues will come to the attention of the teachers before the language difficulties are detected.
There are a few things to pay attention to if you suspect your teenager of experiencing language difficulties, they include:
It is important to choose a suitable time and approach your teenager to have an honest conversation about their communication challenges. This may be a very sensitive topic and your concerns may not be received well at first. Solicit the help of teachers and perhaps other adults and seek advice from a speech therapist or paediatrician.
Reassure your teen that their language skills can continue to improve with practice, though they may need the help of outside services for support and therapy.