Language does not affect a child’s ability to learn or delay speech – experts

In Nigeria, many mothers believe that the number one reason for speech delay in children is the so-called “tongue tie.” They strongly believe that this “tongue” must be cut off, otherwise the child will not be able to speak on time or will not be able to speak clearly.

It is not uncommon for mothers to bring their children to the hospital and ask them to check if their children have speech problems due to speech delays. In fact, many have gone so far as to ask a traditional obstetrician for help once or twice before coming to the hospital after realizing any improvement in “tongue cutting”. Often, the incision becomes infected or heals with too much scarring, leading to more problems.

Tongue (ankyloglossia) is a condition that occurs at birth when the skin strip of the tongue and the floor of the mouth connects, being shorter or narrower than normal. This can restrict the movement of the tongue. A person who is speechless may have difficulty speaking. It can be mild or severe, depending on how much extra tissue is under the tongue.

Language has many proven problems, and in infants its main effect is to interfere with proper closure and breastfeeding, which can adversely affect exclusive breastfeeding.

An interdisciplinary study to shed light on myths and practices related to “tongue twisters” among mothers at the Immune Clinic of Abia State University’s Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Aba, puts the prevalence of tongue surgery in Southeast Nigeria at 27.3%. .

The reasons for this procedure were mainly concerns about speech delays, problems with speech quality or coercion by health workers, which put potential fears of speech problems in mothers. Nutritional problems in no child were the cause of this procedure. Also, the level of education and location did not affect the dissemination of experience.

Complications of phrenotomy, a method of treating the tongue tie, such as bleeding, have been observed in 13.3% of those who underwent this operation. The bleeding was so severe that it required hospitalization and a blood transfusion. It was in the 2021 edition of Acta Scientific Peediatrics.

Phrenotomy is an operation performed by a number of physicians, including obstetricians, gynecologists and dentists. It involves cutting extra tissue under the tongue in a baby in less than 4 months. The first international study on tongue-tied problems after minor surgery for children’s tongues, published in the Australian scientific journal The Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, found that its problems included problems with breathing, pain, bleeding, weight loss and poor nutrition. include. .

Not all surgeries, even if minor, are risk-free. More specifically, Dr. Omobola Olanloe, a pediatric dental consultant at Ibadan University College Hospital, said tongue blocking is an over-diagnosed condition in Nigeria.

According to Dr. Olanloe, “Every midwife thinks that a child has a tongue tie, so if a child moves the tongue in a certain way, the child should have a tongue tie. So, we see that mothers who come with their newborns say that their babies have a tongue tie, which is not so common because the population takes it for granted. This is a relatively rare condition.

“For example, in January 2022, I saw about 5 children whose mothers brought them in because they felt the child had lost his tongue. Only one in five spoke the language. It was even a soft tie that didn’t cause any problems.

Dr. Olanloe stated that parents should have all potentially tongue-tied children examined by a specialist, as not every tie needs surgical intervention, although mothers are always concerned.

He said, “There are different types of language. The severity of the tongue tie and the condition of the tongue-related disability determine whether the tie needs intervention. ”

Dr. Olanloe stated that practices such as the use of forceps to cut the interrogated tie or a surgical blade to cut it are often not to be discouraged in the community due to problems that may arise. as bleeding and infection.

She advised mothers who are concerned about speech problems in children, it is better to consult a specialist who is trained to assess and diagnose hearing and speech conditions, rather than go to Google to find a solution.

Dr. Olanloye declared, “Google has caused a lot of problems because one problem is that they run to their phones and Google it and they believe that everything they read on Google is the solution to the problem. In some cases it’s what they do. they speak the language, it’s actually something else. It’s completely different. “

Dr. Adekunle Daniel, an ENT surgeon’s consultant, stated that tongue wrapping could not prevent a child from speaking or learning to speak.

According to Dr. Daniel, “The worst part of language for a child is to give the child abnormal and distorted speech, but it is not right to prevent the child from speaking. It is something else, either the baby has a brain injury at birth or the baby cannot hear because the baby cannot hear or speak.

“So the best thing you can think of is that the child has a tongue or a child who has never had a significant speech, that the child is evaluated as soon as possible to know what the child is in. Perhaps the child may have other problems. It is said that a child does not develop any speech, and this is because of the language barrier, which is not true. ”

Studies have shown that a large number of babies whose tongues are blocked do not need treatment; resolves itself. However, any situation should be revived by a specialist for the health of the child.

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