Understanding Delayed Speech & Language Development In Children

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delayed speech

Speech and language are an essential part of a child’s development. Language development impeaches your child’s social interactions, behavior, and academic skills. Speech and language hence are vital for the overall development of the child.

When To Worry?

  • By first birthday if babies are not using their voices to relate to their environment.
  • Around 12 months if the child is not using gestures such as pointing or waving.
  • By 18 months if the child prefers gestures and has troubles imitating sound.
  • Around 02 years if the child uses only sound and cannot use oral language to communicate his/ her immediate need.
  • By 02 years if parents are unable to understand about half of child’s speech.

When To Intervene?

A child’s earliest experience plays a significant role in the development of the brain which is strengthened by positive early experiences. High-quality early intervention services can change a child’s developmental trajectory and hence improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.

Delay Related To Disorders

  • Children not meeting expected milestones of speech and language development can be secondary to other physical development that may first manifest as language problem. These are conditions such as hearing loss, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder(ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Hearing loss in children can lead to delayed speech and language skills. Children in such cases will have good pre-requisite skills, social skills and normal play. They will have problem in certain clarity of speech and may speak in high tone.
  • Mental retardation leads to delay in both understanding and expression of speech by children. Poor socialization, non-meaningful play and poor pre-requisite skills are the main characteristics in such situation.
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a communication disorder in children who have limited to know verbal speech and have problem responding to verbal instructions. They also tend to ignore other who speak directly to them.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears when children with attention issue have troubles such as hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, inattention and distractibility thus affecting their language and communication in many ways.

Role Of Speech-Language Pathologist In Delayed Speech

The speech-language pathologist can evaluate all language domains i.e. listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They work to prevent and treat speech, language, social, and cognitive communication in children.

Birth to 5 monthReacts to loud sound. Turns head towards the source of the sound. Vocalizes pleasure and displeasure. Make noise when talked to!
6 to 11 monthsBabbles like ba-ba ba or ma-ma-ma. Tries repeating your sound. Understand the difference between yes and no.
12 to 17 monthsFirst meaningful words arrive. Pointing will start. Follow simple commands. Imitation of words will start
18 to 23 monthsPoints to body parts. Understands simple verbs such as eat, sleep, etc.
2 to 3 yearsAnswers simple questions. Speech becomes more accurate. Beings to pronouns. Speaks in two to three-word phrases.

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