FAQs: Speech and Language Delays

While every child develops language at his or her own pace, sometimes speech and language may seem to be lagging further behind in a child’s development than is typical. To learn more about speech and language delays, read the following frequently asked questions:


What causes a language delay?

While some language delays have specific causes—hearing loss, brain injury, intellectual disability—the causes of many are unclear. Specific language impairment (SLI) refers to a delay in language development in which the child is typically developing in all other aspects. Often, there is no apparent cause for SLI. Many children with SLI seem to have typical language development, only occurring later than expected. Others continue to have difficulty with language throughout childhood. It is difficult to predict how SLI will progress for any particular child. However, working with a speech-language pathologist can help a child to develop language, especially when implemented early.


What can a speech-language pathologist do?

Speech and language therapists can help facilitate language development in young children presenting with delays. The speech-language therapist will determine the current communicative level of the child. They will take into consideration not only spoken language, but how much language the child understands and the use of non-verbal communication skills such as gestures. The speech therapist will then work to stimulate language development, using the child’s current skills as a starting point. Depending on the child’s level, a speech-language therapist may begin with rudimentary skill such as babbling, vocalizing, or using gestures.


If I think my child has delayed speech and language, should I seek out services immediately, or take a “wait and see” approach until I’m sure?

If you suspect your child has a speech or language delay, obtaining an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist is generally recommended. If it turns out that your child is not delayed, a professional evaluation can help to ease fears. If a delay is detected, it is best to start therapy as early as possible to help to stimulate language development.


If you or someone you love has a problem with speech, language, or communication, contact Speech Associates of NY today for an evaluation. One of our trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help you on the road to better speech and communication. Call us at 917-841-2965 or visit us on the web: www.speechassociatesofny.com

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