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      Spotting signs of a speech disorder

      Isaiah Patron/ Gayla Rovelsky UP Rehab Speech Pathologist

      According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 7.5 million Americans struggle with speech. By first grade, five percent of children develop a speech disorder.

      Skipping consonants was the problem for five-year-old Isaiah Patron. His mother, Shannon Patron, says a lot of people couldnâ??t understand her son.

      "I was even having difficulty understanding what he was saying sometimes," admits Shannon. "Itâ??s difficult seeing your child not be up to the level of other children."

      Marquette General Therapies Speech Pathologist, Gayla Rovelsky, says Speech therapy can help children improve communication skills by working on things, including articulation, conversation, and reading comprehension. The belief children will learn at their own pace is a misconception according to Rovelsky; one she says could lead to falling behind in academics.

      "If they do not understand what you're saying, then the likelihood that they're learning that information is severely decreased," insists Rovelsky.

      How well do they follow directions, saying incomplete words, and difficult to understand are signs your child may need a speech pathologist.

      "I love coming to speech," admits the five year old, confidently.

      "His speech has definitely improved," Isaiahâ??s mom happily says. "He's easier to understand, but it's very rewarding knowing that the hard work is paying off."

      If you're having concerns, ask your physician to see a speech pathologist for an evaluation.