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Ultrasound to be used to help children with speech difficulties

Researchers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and Edinburgh University are using ultrasound technology to assist in the treatment of children who are receiving speech therapy.

They have developed a pioneering method that allows youngsters who have speech problems and difficulty forming words, to see how their tongue is moving on a computer screen. The researchers can then use the information gathered to help teach the children how to make their tongue the correct shape to be able to pronounce words.

It is hoped that even clearer images can be created of the tongue using MRI scans, which will make it easier for kids to see how they are able to improve their own speech.

Speech sound disorders affect around 6.5 per cent of children who find it difficult to form certain sounds, which make communication difficult. Experts claim that the current treatment offered during childhood is inadequate.

Director of the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre at Queen Margaret University, Professor Jim Scobbie said, “Most people who have difficulty creating the correct speech sounds receive therapy which relies on their auditory skills, they must listen to their own speech then try to modify them.

However, with these more traditional methods, some children struggle to improve their speech. With ultrasound technology, people can see the movement and shape of their own tongue inside their mouth in real time and use this visual information to help them create the correct sound. In simple terms, it allows them to see where they are going wrong, change the shape of their tongue when speaking and ultimately improve the sounds that they make.”

View the original Scotsman article here.

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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