What Is a Speech Delay in Children?
Speech delay in children is a developmental disorder that hampers oral communication. It delays a child’s ability to acquire the skills necessary to speak, such as syntax and grammar, unlike their peers.
It can be due to various reasons. Signs of speech delay in children include delayed ability to pronounce words, ease while articulating, and non-verbal communication.
Read on to understand what a speech delay is and its various causes.
Causes of Speech Delay
A speech delay means your child isn’t speaking as well as other children of the same age.
The major causes of a speech delay include the following.
Some children may have inherited certain conditions that cause them trouble communicating with others. Some examples are autism spectrum disorder and Down syndrome.
Children with developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have problems with their motor skills – walking, standing, and grasping objects – making speech difficult.
Mental Disabilities or Illnesses
Depression or anxiety due to a brain injury, illness, or lack of oxygen before birth can affect a child’s speech.
Brain Infections such as meningitis or encephalitis can distort your child’s speech development.
A child with a hearing impairment will find it hard to form words. You can notice hearing problems if your child only responds to the use of gestures.
Speech Delay Signs
It is essential to be cautious if your baby is not responding to sounds or vocals.
Consult your child’s doctor if:
- At 12 months, the child is not using gestures.
- At 18 months, the child communicates using gestures rather than vocalization and has trouble imitating sounds.
- At the age of 2 years, the child is unable to mimic speech, produce words spontaneously, or communicate orally.
- The child cannot follow simple directions.
- The child has an unusual voice tone, such as raspy or nasal sounding.
Speech Delay Treatment
If you have a child with signs of speech delay, then consult a speech and language pathologist. Your child will be put on treatment after diagnosis as some children take a longer time to start talking.
Your child’s treatment options will depend on the cause of the speech delay and may include:
- Speech and language therapy
- Treatment of the underlying condition
- Early intervention services
Tips For Parents
As a parent, you are responsible for your child’s speech development.
Here’s what you can do to boost your child’s speech:
- Talk to your child directly to see what you’re doing.
- Use gestures and point to objects that correspond to the words you’re saying.
- Read and explain pictures to your child.
- Sing simple songs to your child and ask them to repeat them after you.
- Give your child maximum attention when they are trying to talk to you.
- Take your child out and let them play with other children.
- Help your child learn by asking them questions with choices.
It is possible to get help for children with speech delays. It is best to consult a speech therapist or pediatrician to figure out what may be causing speech delay and how to solve it. If your child shows speech delay signs, seek help immediately.
At WFMC Health Clinic, we offer both on-location and telemedicine services. Contact us today for primary medical care and assistance.
This blog post was originally published on WFMCHealth.org.