Many children need speech therapy

Many children need speech therapy

Every fourth six-year-old is treated with speech therapy

Language development in children from the age of 3 to the second birthday means that a child speaks an average of 100 words. Two years later, the vocabulary rose to 2,000 words. By the fourth birthday, some children are already building multi-chain main and secondary clauses. The rest usually follow during the first two years of school. However, it is important that children can speak properly when they start school. In general, boys need more support when learning than girls.

The AOK's scientific institute (WIdO) found in the 2013 drug report that every fourth six-year-old boy needed speech therapy. The percentage for girls is only 17 percent. There has been an increase of around five percent compared to 2007. At that time it was 20 percent of the boys who needed therapeutic help. "We are seeing that every year more children need temporary therapeutic support for healthy, age-appropriate development," explained Helmut Schröder, deputy WIdO managing director.

In order to deal effectively with language delays, it is advisable to start speech therapy in the first decade of the child's life. Disruptions in language development must be counteracted as early as possible. The older the children are, the more difficult it is for them to change something. In the group of six-year-olds, most of the medical prescriptions for speech therapy can be found. For example, in 2012 around 25 percent of AOK-insured boys at this age had speech therapy, whereas girls of the same age had only about 17 percent at the age when most of them started school. A total of two thirds (67.7 percent) of all speech therapy measures were prescribed to children and adolescents up to 15 years of age. According to the WIdO, "Language disorders before the end of language development" with a share of 53 percent make up the largest share of language deficits. “Language disorders after completing language development” (13.1 percent) and treatments due to articulation disorders (9 percent) follow only at a clear distance.

Speech therapies continue to increase The proportion of prescribed speech therapies for boys and girls has risen steadily since 2007. According to WIdO, it was initially 21.2 percent of boys aged six and 14.7 percent of girls who took advantage of language therapy offers; today the values ​​are around five percentage points higher. The 2013 Remedies Report also shows that boys receive speech therapy treatments above average. Boys up to the age of 14 only provided 6.4 percent of the AOK insured, but in 2012 received 42 percent of all speech therapy services.

Preventing health disorders as early as possible The experts see a growing need for speech therapies for children, a special requirement in the transition between kindergarten and primary school. Here, future learning models could help to address the problem. "Behavioral and relationship-preventive measures in kindergartens and schools as well as in the parental home are just as important to prevent health problems in early years," continued the WIdO managing director.

Positive emotions generally help with learning Children only learn sustainably if they combine positive emotions with what they have learned, according to the findings from brain research. Emotions that are directly connected to everyday life have the best effect. Sometimes a loving atmosphere works wonders. However, parents should under no circumstances harass their children with language and writing exercises before starting school, according to experts. The basis for the Therapeutic Products Report 2013 was the information from around 35 million medicinal recipes, which were analyzed in detail. These were issued to around 70 million insured persons under the statutory health insurance (SHI). But not only speech therapies were among the prescribed services. Recipes from the areas of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and podiatry were also included. The report serves to better identify trends and thus implement nationwide offers in the supply of medicinal products, reports the WIdO. (Fr)

Photo credit: Helene Souza /

Author and source information

Video: Speech Language Therapy Paediatrics. (November 2020).