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Newborn Screening for Communication Disorders: A Must

2 min read

Amulya P Rao

Mysuru: Hope you all are keeping well and were able to spread a word of awareness about normal developmental milestones and effects of child neglect to your near and dear ones.

If you remember, in one of my earlier articles (https://www.mysoorunews.com/know-your-child-thebest/), I had provided information on early signs indicating the risk for communication disorders in children of age range 2 to-5 years. Then, is it necessary to wait till 2 years to identify the child at risk/having communication disorder? No, the risk for communication disorder can be identified even in a newborn baby!

In India, a team of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists regularly visit nursing homes which they have collaborated with, to freely screen newborns. Make sure that you avail that service in the nursing home. If that service is unavailable, you can screen your baby yourself by carrying out the following:

  1. Make or present a sound and look for baby’s response. The baby has to either startle/blink eyes/move the eye balls/start or stop crying or any other reaction.
  2. Keep your little finger on its palm. Baby closes its fist.
  3. Stroke the bottom of the baby’s foot (You need to run your finger from bottom to up). The big toe should bend up and backward toward the top of your foot while the other four toes fan out.
  4. Baby’s cry should not be weak
  5. Baby should have a good suck. As soon as you put a clean finger inside the baby’s mouth it starts sucking rhythmically
  6. Touch near the sides of the lips of the baby with your finger. Baby will open its mouth and move the tongue towards the side of the touch in search of the finger.
  7. Check for the presence of cleft in lip and/or palatee. whole in the roof of the mouth or slit in the lip.
  8. Check for the presence of weakness in both upper and lower limbs. The presence of weakness might indicate the condition called Cerebral Palsy
  9. Check the doctor’s report for the following:
  10. Normal/delayed birth cry
  11. Baby’s weight (minimum 2.5kg).

The Executive Council (EC) of Indian Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ISHA), requests the parents to immediately consult an Audiologist and/or Speech-Language pathologist (https://www.mysoorunews.com/whom-to-consult-if-you-have-speech-voice-or-hearing -related-issues-read-expert-suggestions/) if any deviancies are observed in your baby with respect to the above mentioned points. Also, keep following it up with them every 6 months to track the developmental milestones (https://www.mysoorunews.com/every-parent-must-know-this/) of your baby. 

The EC of ISHA also requests all private as well as government nursing homes to collaborate with Audiologists and/or Speech-Language Pathologists and have regular newborn screening and help in preventing communication disorders.

(The writer is Research Associate, ISHA, Mysuru)

– Team Mysoorunews

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