There is no surprise that speech and body language, or more specifically, articulation and pragmatic skills are important for people. This helps people communicate from an early age and build meaningful relationships. As children get older they begin to understand when there is something slightly different about them in comparison to their peers, especially if their peers point it out (as you can expect children do!). Consequently, self-esteem can be damaged, and children may begin to feel left out or feel they aren’t as good as other children.
So what does speech and pragmatic difficulties look like?
Articulation is the production of sounds and involves the coordinated movements of the lips, tongue, teeth, palate as well as the lungs.
A child who may have some difficulties with articulation can have the following symptoms:
Problems producing sounds and properly forming particular speech sounds (having a lisp is an example)
Problems producing certain letter sounds (saying ‘wight’ instead or ‘right’ for example)
Pragmatic skills, or social communication skills, refers to the social language skills that we use in our everyday lives to interact with others. This includes what we say and how we say it. For example, things such as eye contact, facial expressions, body language are considered pragmatic skills, and how these skills are used to interact with others in given situations.
A child who may have some difficulties with pragmatic skills can find it difficult to:
Greet, discuss things, ask for things, enquire, command, and request
Adapt language to meet the needs of their audience. For example, knowing the difference on how to speak to an adult versus an infant
Follow the ‘rules’ of conversation, such as taking turns to speak, making eye contact, making appropriate gestures and facial expression.
How can I tell if my child has low self-esteem?
Self-esteem is important for many reason. To name a few, having goos self-esteem can help children have confidence in themselves to try new things, to learn more, to be curious, make friends and to feel good about themselves. A child can build their self-esteem from an infant and can keep building onwards until adulthood.
A child with low self-esteem can display the following traits:
Feel they’re not as good as their peers
Self critical and harsh on themselves
Have self-doubt about their ability
Think of their failures rather than their successes
Afraid to try new things due to the thought of failing
As a child grows, so does their language and social communication skills, as well as their self-esteem. If one is lacking, then the other can begin to follow. Very often children can become embarrassed of feeling ‘different’ to others. To give them the best shot at ‘building confidence and self-esteem, it can be worthwhile to target any articulation and pragmatic difficulties they may have. After all, we are social-beings and want to be able to communicate with others and feel gadabout ourselves.