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Cerebral Palsy: Help for Speech Problems

Topic Overview

Some people with cerebral palsy have problems moving their mouths to form words correctly. Some have hearing loss, which affects their ability to speak clearly.

If your child is having problems speaking clearly, talk with your doctor. Hearing tests, speech developmental questionnaires, and other assessments may help determine the best course of treatment.

In most cases, speech therapy with a professional is recommended for these problems. But you can also help a child with cerebral palsy communicate more effectively by:

  • Looking directly at the child while you are speaking.
  • Talking slowly.
  • Using pictures or objects while you are speaking.
  • Reading with your child and using picture books. Try to get the child involved in the story by saying, for example, "Show me the fire engine" or "Where is the cat?"

Speech therapy may include using:

  • Sign language (hand and body movements) or special boards (with pictures, words, or letters on them). People who do not speak clearly can learn to communicate better using these tools.
  • A hearing aid. This device may benefit people who have trouble talking because of hearing loss.
  • Computers to increase the volume of a voice that is very faint.
  • Specialized computer programs. Some programs help improve speech through practicing lessons. Other programs are designed to allow a person who does not speak at all to communicate through objects or symbols.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last Revised September 20, 2012

Last Revised: September 20, 2012

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