Speech delay refers to the delay in the development or use of the mechanisms that produce speech. It can be difficult to spot behavior that indicates children are just late talkers and what requires professional attention. Every child develops at different stages and there are factors such as growing up in a bilingual home and growing up with older siblings who ‘do the talking for the younger child' that result in some children taking longer to speak. However, generally speaking, the milestones for each age group are as outlined below.
Toddlers should generally reach the above milestones as outlined. Not reaching them is not always a sure sign that they have a speech delay, but it may be an indication, so if you are worried, contact your pediatrician for advice.
Problems with the mouth: A speech delay may be because of a problem with the mouth, tongue, or palate.
Hearing loss: Children who can't hear well or hears distorted speech, may experience difficulties in speaking as they can't pick up words as easily from hearing others speak. Children who have a lot of hearing aches may have problems with hearing loss.
Autism spectrum disorder: Speech and language problems are very often seen with an autism spectrum disorder.
Neurological problems: Certain neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy can affect muscles necessary for speech.
Lack of stimulation: We learn to speak to try and join a conversation, so it is important for children to be around adults who are speaking and stimulating toddler's interest in engaging.
Note: All information on nurseriesandschools.org is for educational purposes; please contact your doctor for specific medical advice, treatment, and diagnoses.