Delayed Speech & Language

There are instances when a kid doesn’t show the usual signs of development compared to their peers. Most parents take it casually thinking that their child will catch up in due course only to find a larger problem associated with it. It is therefore extremely important to discuss speech and language related delays with a medical practitioner to find out whether a child is immature or has a genuine problem which requires medical help. A child can show different signs as per age:

Different age group:

Within the first 12 months, a baby should be able to relate to his environment and make babbling and cooing sound. It is often observed that by month 9, a baby is capable of stringing sounds after seeing things. If a baby is intently watching objects, but is unable to make any sound, this may be an early symptom of speech or language related problem.Between the 12th and the 15th month, a baby should be capable of making a wide array of sounds including few commonly used words. Babies should also be able to take few basic instructions and oblige those.Between the age of 18th and 24th months, a baby becomes smart enough to pronounce anywhere in the range of 20 to 50 words. They also start combining words and make simple sentences. They should be capable of identifying common objects and remember their names.By the age of 3, a toddler should be smart enough to combine 4-5 words and form sentences. Kids of this age also become smart enough to take straightforward instructions and perform them comfortably. Any deviation on this should be immediately reported to the Doctor.

What are the warning signs?

If a child between the age of 1-2 is not able to do the following things:

Fails to use gestureUse more gesture than vocalising by the age of 18 monthsProduce no voice by 18th-monthFails to perform simple instructions.

A child between the age of 2-3 needs evaluation if:

Capable of imitating words but isn’t spontaneous in vocalisingRepeats certain words multiple timesThe tone of voice is unusual compared to his peers

Possible causes of speech and language delay:

Problems with palate leading to oral impairmentsShort frenulum restricting sufficient tongue movement to produce speechOral-motor problems leading to speech limitationProblems related to hearingChronic infection of the ear leading to speech delay

What does the pathologist assess?

What can the child speak?What can the child understand?Oral-motor status Clarity of speech.

Post the above evaluation a pathologist directs a plan of action. Sometimes speech therapy sessions are recommended in order to improve kids’ skill. For a motor related problem, a doctor can state a plan of action and limit the expectation of parents. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Speech Therapist.