Fifteen percent increase in number of registrations as more people seek counseling.
Post-pandemic, the number of people who have availed speech therapy has gradually increased, according to speech therapists.
Sister Linta John, Audiologist at Unit of Hope in St. John’s Medical Hospital, said that during the pandemic, cases of speech disorder were less in their hospital as parents were not coming out of the house. However, the cases in July, August, September has increased when compared to April, May and June 2021.
The 76th National Statistical Office (NSO) survey conducted between July and December 2018 showed that, the percentage of people with speech and language disability was 0.3 percent in males and 0.2 percent in females.
Administrator of Magpie Speech Therapy Centre, Pavithra said that there is around 15 percent increase in client registration. She added that children with speech disorder come across different problems causing delay in their development. The children face poor eye contact, feeding issues, limited attention, vocabulary deficiency, unclear speech, behavioral issues, and social-emotional issues. These issues affect their academic growth as well.
She also said that the high exposure to digital screens, no interaction with peers, lack of physical activity, and irregular sleep pattern is the impact of Covid on children with speech disorder.
Sister Linta added that improvement in fluency disorder depends on the severity of the condition. If the patient has some other problem like sensory issues, then it will take time to be treated.
Nishal Shetty, member of The Indian Stammering Association (TISA), said that he suffered from stuttering (a type of speech disorder) since childhood. He said that he was a covert stutterer and used to be afraid to talk to strangers. He did not like to engage in activities like giving a speech, or organizing events because of his stutter.
He added that when he joined TISA, initially he focused on reading books in public and in group meetings, and then he rehearsed more on impromptu speeches to overcome his communication problem. He also said that speech therapy is one of the components for better communication. Another member of TISA Dipin Jain said, “We encountered 40 percent increase in the number of people joining the organization.”
According to All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) study, 6.7 percent individuals are prone to communication disorders in Rural India.
Dr. Karandeep singh, Senior Resident at Department of ENT, Head and Neck Surgery said that there are a lot of causes of speech disorders in people which vary from damage to vocal cords, severe hearing loss, muscular dystrophies, brain injury due to stroke or trauma etc.
He added that various techniques like physical exercises to strengthen and train muscles for proper speech production or to familiarize the patient with various sounds and words can help the people having speech disorder.