Guntur: Children with speech and hearing disabilities seem to be among the biggest sufferers amid the Covid-19 outbreak. The outbreak has forced most therapy centres to remain closed over the last three months and therapists don’t seem to be in the mood to return to coaching centres yet for fear of contracting the virus.
Training sessions of hundreds of children, mostly below three years of age, stopped abruptly three months ago. Parents of these children are under severe mental strain as they are unable to take their kids to training centres. “We are literally panicking by the day because our child is missing the classes,” said Majula, the mother of a four-year-old with speech-related disabilities.
Experts worry that many such children may cross the age of language acquisition owing to the curbs imposed in the state to stop the spread of Covid-19. “It is really painful to see children miss out on their classes. We are unable to return due to the prevailing situation,” said Dr Tanguturi Narender, a noted audiologist and speech language pathologist (SLP).
Dr Narender explained that the process of language acquisition is a natural process of the brain and majority of children start learning language on their own when they are nearly nine months old. “Most children will begin spelling words by the age of three. Children who have trouble in speech may need slow and rigorous training to make them fluent in languages,” Dr Narender added.
While many parents are appealing to therapists to train their children online, therapists till now have refused to take that route. Therapists say that it is very difficult to train children through video streaming which is why they are reluctant to do sessions online.

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