Over the past two weeks, we’ve discussed some communication milestones that are common across children as they develop speech language skills. If you’ve noticed that your child is not developing language at a typical pace, you may have some questions about what exactly a language delay is and what this means for your child. To help understand this common issue, we’ve put together some frequently asked questions about childhood speech delays:
- What causes a language delay? Some speech and language delays are caused by specific issues, such as neurological disorders, hearing impairment, or intellectual disability. However, for many children, the source of a speech or language delay is unclear.
- Does this mean my child has some sort of disability? A language delay doesn’t necessarily reflect a learning disorder or disability. Many children with delayed language catch up with their peers quickly, with no lasting effects. Others may demonstrate a persistent difficulty with language throughout early childhood. This is referred to as specific language impairment (SLI), a delay in language development in which the child is typically developing in all other aspects. In some cases, a child with SLI will develop language skills typical for their age as time goes on. Others may have more persistent problems as they get older. Children who continue to have specific issues with language during the school years are often referred to as having a language learning disability.
- If I think my child has a language delay, should I wait and see if they catch up before seeking out services? 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.
Check in with us again next week, when we’ll discuss some of the ways a speech-language pathologist can help a child with a language delay.
For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725.