As a parent, your child’s development is an exciting process to witness. There are many milestones in your child’s life that you are anticipating to see and document. One of the most heart-warming achievements to witness is the first attempt to communicate.
If you are worried about your child, look out for these signs of speech and language delays, so that you have an idea of when to consult with an expert.
What Is Speech and Language Delay?
Speech is a child’s ability to express themselves verbally. It involves the use of sounds and words. Speech delay is characterized by a child’s inability to use understandable sounds, words, or phrases to express themselves.
On the other hand, language is the ability to give and receive information through verbal and non-verbal expressions. Language delay is when a child has difficulty putting more than two words together to deliver a message.
Problems in speech and language are different but may overlap.
What Are the Signs of Speech and Language Delay?
Here are some speech and language milestones and signs of delay:
Before 12 Months of Age
Babies who are 2 to 3 months old may start smiling and cooing at you. Babbling begins shortly after birth, and the clarity and combination of their vocalizations will progress as they grow and learn. At around 8 to 10 months of age, most children are able to respond when their names are called, usually by turning their head to the speaker.
12 Months of Age
Your child should be able to use gestures at around 12 months of age. They should also be able to babble with a greater variety or transition to saying one to two words. They may have a speech or language delay if they are unable to say simple words (“dada” or “mama”) around this age.
18 months of Age
At 18 months, your child should be combining words to form two-word phrases or make their wants known (“up” or “more”). One sign of speech or language delay is if they prefer using gestures over trying to talk. Another sign that your child may exhibit at this age is difficulty in imitating sounds and understanding simple verbal instructions.
2 to 3 Years Old
At this age, a child may have a delay if he or she can only imitate speech and actions but cannot say words or construct phrases. Other signs are the inability to communicate beyond their needs and follow simple directions. You may also observe that your child has a raspy or nasally sounding voice.
Your child can also start talking in short sentences by the time they are 3 years old. Parents should understand about 50–75% of their child’s speech at this age.
4 Years Old
At 4 years old, your child should be able to express themselves in words. People who are not familiar with your child should also be able to understand them. Your child should be able to articulate their needs and construct short sentences. The inability to choose words and put them together in sentences is a sign of language delay. Another sign is when they leave out words in sentences.
Possible Causes of Delay
There are several possible causes of speech and language delay. When you observe the signs mentioned above, consult with your child’s pediatrician or a specialist. They can help you adequately address your child’s communication issues.
The following are some possible causes of speech or language delay:
- Hearing Impairments. Language impairment is common in children who have hearing impairments. Learning to communicate may be challenging for individuals who have difficulty hearing or are unable to hear.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children with ASD may or may not have language or speech delays. However, the condition typically affects communication.
- Intellectual or Learning Disability. Various intellectual or learning disabilities may cause language delays, one of which is dyslexia.
Speech Pathologist in Wooster, OH
Speech pathologists and therapists could help your child develop their ability to express themselves. There is no exact age required at which your child can see a specialist. If you observe any sign of speech and language delay, consult with a specialist who can help you with your concerns. The sooner your child is diagnosed, the sooner you can bring them to therapy.
At Wooster Community Hospital, we care about you and your child. We have a talented team of specialists to treat your child’s speech issues effectively. Our clinics in Wooster, OH, are ready to serve you. You may contact us by calling (330) 202-3300 or request an appointment online. We are looking forward to taking care of yourself and your family.