*** ----> Can AI speak up for speech delay? Therapist sees promise in tech | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Can AI speak up for speech delay? Therapist sees promise in tech

TDT | Manama     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

The utterance of a child’s first words is akin to uncovering precious gems; they represent a major turning point in their language development.

Yet, when these words are delayed, a shadow of anxiety may settle over parents, weighed down by uncertainty and fear. Zahra Reyadh, a seasoned speech therapist with 12 years of experience, spoke to The Daily Tribune, highlighting the limited availability of comprehensive data and studies on the local incidence of autism, mental disabilities, and misdiagnosis rates in Bahrain.

This lack of detailed information can heighten parental anxieties and lead to erroneous assumptions.

To assuage such concerns, Zahra advises, “Should you observe signs of developmental delay in your child and have doubts, I recommend starting language therapy as soon as possible.

The condition may be less severe than your anxiety makes out.” She further explains, “In addition to speech therapy sessions, a period of at least three months focusing on strengthening parent-child bonds, reducing screen time, and engaging in activities like bedtime stories can significantly aid speech development.

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, a lack of connection can severely impact a child’s linguistic progress.” She added, “At my clinic, Speak Out, we adopt a per exclusionem method of diagnosis, involving multiple sessions to determine the root causes of developmental delays. It is crucial to understand that autism and speech delay are not mutually exclusive and often coexist.”

“There are instances where a young child’s speech difficulties could be the first obvious indication of autism,” she continued, “leading to an initial misdiagnosis of an isolated language disorder.

Thus, it is imperative to take one’s time when diagnosing in order to guarantee precise evaluation and suitable action.”


To reduce these challenges, Reyadh suggests, “At the institutional level, we need awareness campaigns for health institutions and multidisciplinary therapeutic and diagnostic teams with oversight power, regulated by the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA), rather than relying solely on individual efforts.”

Moving on to the subject of technology, a topic she said is very close to her heart, we asked her about the promising technology and how AI can be instrumental in diagnosing and managing language developmental issues.