The month of May is recognized as Better Speech and Hearing Month to bring awareness to the many speech, language, swallowing and hearing disorders among children and adults.
Individuals with PWS often present with a variety of clinical features that may impact their speech and language development (Lewis, 2023) including reduced articulation, hypernasality or hypo nasality, slow rate of speech, delayed receptive / expressive language, poor pragmatic skills, and imprecise articulation (Lewis, 2023).
Children with PWS may also have apraxia of speech, a speech-sound disorder that results from the motor programming of sound production (Lewis, 2023). Some individuals with PWS may not produce intelligible speech sounds until they are school age. Many students utilize augmentative communication (e.g., programmed iPads, American sign language, low tech communication boards) to communicate while they are developing their language, vocabulary, and oral speech skills. Expressive and receptive language functioning is typically much lower than verbal IQ.
Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP) are integral members of the multidisciplinary team treating individuals with PWS. Their goal is to help a person with PWS become a more functional communicator. Speech therapy is beneficial as early as infancy and continues to add benefit through adulthood. In infancy, the focus will be on oral-motor therapy, strengthening the muscles used for speech and feeding. While parents can help stimulate language development and growth, a trained SLP is needed to help individuals achieve their full potential. May 18th is SLP Appreciation Day, so be sure to show your appreciation to the SLPs on your team!
Lewis, Barbara (2023). Speech and Language Disorders Associated with Prader-Willi Syndrome. Butler, Merlin G., Lee, Phillip D.K., Whitman, Barbara Y. Management of Prader-Willi Syndrome 3rd Edition (pp 272-283). Springer.