What is a language delay?
Language delay occurs when a child does not develop language abilities according to the typical developmental timetable. Language delay is not the same thing as a speech disorder, in which smooth clear talking is disrupted by problems like stuttering or articulation errors. Speech and language delays are relatively common, and account for the largest group of children receiving early intervention services.
How do we know the difference between a late bloomer and a language problem?
Even before children say their first words, they learn to gesture, make eye contact, follow directions, babble, play with toys and take turns in games like peek-a-boo. These are all important precursors for language and some children have difficulty acquiring these skills.
Although the stages of speech and language development that children pass are very consistent, the exact age when they hit these various stages can vary greatly. A child with a language delay is acquiring skills in the typical sequence, but at a slower rate then what might be expected for children their age. A child with a language disorder may have some skills that are age appropriate but lack other skills or deviate from the generally predictable pattern of language development.
There are a number of tests and assessment tools that are helpful in determining if there is a communication problem. Many variables are considered when making a decision about whether or not a child’s language development is delayed or disordered. An experienced speech language pathologist will determine how a child is communicating compared to what is typically expected at a particular age and will look at other factors in the child’s environment that influence their communication.
If you are concerned about your child's language development, we encourage you to contact us for a professional evaluation, to determine factors that may be slowing down language development, and to discuss the next steps to take.
My child stutters, but my pediatrician said she'll grow out of it. Is that true?
Stuttering is a communication disorder characterized by disruptions, or blocks, in the flow of speech that typically starts between the ages of 2 and 5. Many children exhibit stuttering as they begin to talk. Sometimes the muscles and motor movement involved in talking need to catch up with their growing thoughts and all the new things they want to say.
It is generally understood that about 70% of children who exhibit stuttering will outgrow it. That means that for the remaining 30% of children the stuttering will persist. We can help you determine your child’s risk for continuing to stutter, if treatment is indicated, and if so, which treatment approach is right for you and your child.