Language delays are different than speech delays. Speech problems usually involve stuttering and mispronunciation. Speech delays involve a child’s physical ability to use speech clearly.
Language delays are more complex as they involve a child’s cognitive ability to understand and express meaning. Language delays are fairly common, affecting up to 10 percent of pre-school age children in the U.S. With speech language therapy, the majority of these children are able to catch up to their peers and go on to succeed in school and typical communication situations.
Typical Language Milestones for Children
Below are some average language milestones for infants and toddlers. If your child is not keeping up with these milestones, it may be time to schedule a professional assessment with Carlin Speech Pathology.
Cries differently in different circumstances, indicating responsiveness to surroundings.
Baby babbling begins.
Babbling resembles real speech, shows verbal and facial responses to others.
Speaks first words; recognizes own name; understands simple statements.
Vocabulary includes at least 5-10 words. Beings combining two word phrases.
Speaks short sentences with demonstrated growth of vocabulary; can communicate basic wants; clearly understands yes and no.
Recognizes self as "me" rather than name; can construct sentences with nouns and verbs; has a vocabulary of hundreds of words; recognizes concepts like less and more; may form plurals; shows storybook preferences.
Can tell a coherent story; vocabulary has reached about 1,000 words; demonstrates memorization ability (street name, last name, etc.).
Asks questions (like "Why? How?"); uses past tense; easily articulates colors, shapes, numbers, animals, etc.
Regularly makes sentences of at least 5 words; uses all sentence types; vocabulary includes about 2,000 words; understands spatial relations (like "over there" or "underneath"); knows address and phone number.
Language Development Delay or Late Bloomer?
With any type of growth and development, every child progresses at a unique rate. Getting a hearing check and language assessment is the only way to determine if there’s a language disorder or not. For children with language disorders, the earlier they are tested and engaged in a program, the better their chances for success.
While having a late bloomer is nothing to be concerned about, even the process of language testing and learning can help get them up to speed with their peers.
What Causes Language Delays?
Language delays can be caused by a variety of factors, usually falling under one of the following categories: learning disabilities, oral coordination disorder, intellectual disabilities or hearing/processing difficulties. The ONLY way to know for sure what’s causing your child’s language difficulty is to have a thorough and comprehensive evaluation by a qualified speech language therapist.
Early intervention is key to success! The sooner we can pinpoint the cause and severity of a child’s potential speech or language disorder, the earlier we can get that child on the path to better communication.