Speech and Language Delay
What are the common causes of delay in a child beginning to talk?
It could we one of the following or may simply be normal for that child. You must remember
that the normal age of attaining a milestone is not for ALL children. A small percentage
of children may be slightly delayed in attaining that particular milestone.
- Hearing deficit (If the child can't hear he can not talk)
- Overall developmental delay
- Oral motor planning problems (dyspraxia)
- Environmental / emotional deprivation
- Primary language disorder
Diagnosis and Evaluation:
- All children with language delay should have their hearing formally evaluated. This can
be done at any age, in places having audiometry facilities.
- If language delay is regarded as part of overall delay in development, Developmental
evaluation is done by age-appropriate tools like DDST.
|Age in months
||Limited babbling; quiet
||Does not understand
specific words, his name, and names of common objects; cannot follow simple commands such
as " come here", "sit down".
||Uses few single words; is
not imitating words.
||Does not know names of
common objects or simple body parts; cannot point on command to familiar objects or get an
object on request not directly in visual field; no true two word combinations such as
" no cookie", "more milk"; child is often misunderstood.
||No simple sentences
(subject, verb, object); does not seem to understand simple explanations or discussions of
events in past or future.
- Observe how does the child communicate his needs without language. Those with a hearing
problem and primary language disorders will be able to act out their needs properly,
whereas children with developmental delay will not be able to.
- Your consultant will compare between levels of understanding and spoken language.
- While giving history, be sure to involve a description of the home environment and how
does the child interact.
- Caution while testing many children will not show their best language skills with
- After the initial workup referral to an audiologist for hearing problems is often
appropriate. If hearing is normal a speech pathologist should be approached.
- Mild delays in speech can be treated in most cases by educating and encouraging parents
to use language more pervasively in a play context, with frequent modeling of words.
- Early intervention (under 3 years) or language centered classrooms in public schools
(over 3 years ) may be helpful for these children.