Tips for Speech Delay in Children

Tips for Speech Delay in Children

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How can you tell if your child has a speech delay? And what can you do about it? We get a lot of questions from parents and caregivers about identifying and treating speech delay in children. First, we want to commend you for taking the time to research this important topic! The more you understand about speech and language development, the sooner you will be able to recognize any sort of speech delay and get back on track.

First, it’s important to understand that a child’s speech and language development is continually evolving. Professional speech-language pathologists use age-based developmental milestones to assess whether or not a child is at a developmentally appropriate level. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these milestones as they relate to your child’s age and stage. If you do believe that your child may have a speech delay – or even if you just want to work on developing communication skills at home – here are our top tips:

1. Reading Helps Speech Delay

Children are so inquisitive and love to explore ideas in books. Around the age of 18 months, you can begin letting your child pick the books that he or she wants to “read.” Don’t worry if it’s the same book over and over again. While this might get boring and repetitive for you, your child benefits from reinforcing the same concepts. Read and read often! Your child will benefit from hearing new words and listening to the cadence of how stories are told.

These are our favorite books for speech delay in children:

 Talk With Me – Designed for children with speech delay or early talkers. This book uses popular nursery rhymes to encourage first words. Helpful hints guide parents along the way.

By Kimberly McCollister & Adrienne Penake. Reviewed by Kelsey Bailey, M.S. CCC-SLP.



speech delay in children

Easy-To-Say First Words – by Cara Tambellini Danielson, CCC-SLP

Designed for parents concerned with speech delay. This books exposes your child to final consonants and encourages first words. Helpful to encourage talking through easy words, cute photos and repetition.



2. It’s not enough to “just read”

Ok, here’s a good one that seems to directly contradict #1. In addition to reading, you also want to make your child an active participant in the story. Sit with your child’s favorite book, point to the pictures, and ask your child what they see happening in the story. It doesn’t matter at all what they respond, or whether or not you can understand them. You want them to inquire and wonder and begin trying to communicate with you. Don’t try and use these times as a chance to “correct” or refine your child’s interpretation. You just want to get them talking.

3. Sing! Songs for Speech Delay

Even if children can’t speak fluently, they might be able to express themselves through music and singing. Sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, or “Rain, Rain Go Away.” Pause at the end of the line and see if your child can fill in the next word. See if they will sing with you. And then celebrate! Any utterance is great progress.


If you do suspect a speech delay:

By the age of two, children who are not meeting developmental milestones very well may have a speech delay. At this point, seeking professional help from a certified speech-language pathologist in your area is warranted. You’ll want to ask about screening for any medical conditions that may be interrupting speech development and get professional help in treating your child’s speech delay.

Parent's Guide to Speech & Communication Challenges


Bilingual Households and Speech Delays in Children

Bilingual Households and Speech Delays in Children

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Does growing up in a bilingual household create speech delays in children? The answer in the short term appears to be yes. Over the long term, however, children from bilingual homes tend to bounce back and may even derive special advantages from growing up in a household where both English and another language are spoken.

Tips For Raising a Bilingual Child

The key to raising a bilingual child is early exposure. The first few years of a child’s life represent the most rapid period in the growth of language pathways for speech development. Researchers say that a child’s brain in this critical period are like giant file cabinets that store up huge libraries of phonetic knowledge.

Scientists at Cornell University describe the acquisition of language as one of the greatest feats in human development. Their research indicates that an initial deficit in word learning or vocabulary was followed by “a fast pace of development,” ultimately reaching the same rate as children raised in monolingual homes. While many teachers and parents may be concerned that raising a child in a multilingual or bilingual household could be confusing, the scientific evidence indicates that bilingual children do not suffer from “language confusion, language delay or cognitive deficit.”

The Advantages of Raising a Bilingual Child

The cognitive advantages that your child will reap from bilingualism or multilingualism will likely aid his or her academic achievements later in life. In fact, far from causing problems in a child’s intellectual development, bilingual or multilingual kids enjoy special advantages over their monolingual peers, including easier access to other languages and cultures in ways that their peers often do not share. Moreover, exposure from birth to more than one language may yield the best results in achieving native-like proficiency.

Perhaps best of all, the children of bilingual or multilingual parents do not need to be “taught” a second language in order to get it right. Language learning is a complex process that children work through on a step-by-step basis, according to the sounds that they hear from their parents and overhear in other settings. So while exposure from birth to different languages is essential, moms and dads do not need to drill their children if they are developing normally. They can simply allow their kids to “discover” other languages on their own.

At the same time, however, parents can take concrete steps to facilitate multilanguage development that will enrich understanding and mastery, including:

  • Surrounding the child with conversations and social groups that utilize more than one language.
  • Exposing children to different languages through multilingual play groups.
  • Reading to and telling your child stories in different languages.

Another tip for parents raising the bilingual or multilingual child is for each parent to stick to his or her native tongue. This is known as the OPOL — “one parent, one language” — strategy for nurturing multilingual speech development. It’s based on the idea that kids will have an easier time if moms and dads consistently speak their own native tongues.

Of course, parents with children who have diagnosed language difficulties have special concerns regarding the effects of bilingualism. But research shows that, even among kids with language development challenges, it is possible for them to achieve bilingualism. According to one researcher, the evidence “suggests that…these children can acquire functional competence in two languages at the same time, within the limits of their impairment. Therefore, children with specific language impairment living in families where knowing two, or more, languages are useful and important, should be given every opportunity to acquire two languages.”

Parents who are unsure or have doubts should make sure that their children’s hearing has been tested; they should also consult an expert and remember that language development is a complex process that takes time and that some children will simply develop these skills at different rates.

Catching Early Signs of Speech Delay

Catching Early Signs of Speech Delay

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Parenting is no easy feat, many times with our ever busy lives, the convenience of websites like WebMD seem to be the go-to diagnostic center, rather than the traditional “trip to the doctor’s office.” Deciphering whether or not your child has a speech or language challenge may not always be straightforward. I took the opportunity to sit down at Heights Pediatrics with Dr. Katerina Silverblatt, to address some of the most vital questions parents may ask themselves when it comes to discovering early signs of speech delay.

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Early Intervention Services – The Who, What, Where, Why and How

Early Intervention Services – The Who, What, Where, Why and How

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Some of the most rewarding and fun cases I have had the pleasure of being a part of have been with the youngest of children that speech pathologists serve—infants and toddlers, from birth to age 3. From one session to the next, I have witnessed profound changes in a child’s speech and language functioning, as well as in that child’s family’s sense of empowerment as they address the often formidable challenge of educating a child with developmental delays. Luckily, there is a government-sponsored program set up to help and it is called the Early Intervention (EI) program. Often, gathering information, directed, valuable information, is the first step to get your child the support he or she needs. This blog post is dedicated to providing some background to this vital program and to empower parents to access the services their child would deserve.

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Developmental Apraxia of Speech – An In Depth Look

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A is for Apraxia

What is Developmental Apraxia of Speech?

A is for Apraxia.  On Monday, we took at look at Apraxia of Speech in children.  Specifically, we outlined the types of apraxia of speech and related symptoms. The most common type of apraxia of speech in children is developmental, which means it is a neurologically based speech disorder. While some children with Developmental Apraxia of Speech (DAS) had specific prenatal or birth injuries, for the most part, there is no specific cause of DAS. This month, we will plan to take a look into the subject of Apraxia of Speech in children in more depth.

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Apraxia of Speech in Children – What You Need to Know

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Apraxia of Speech in Children

What is Apraxia of Speech in Children?

What is Apraxia of Speech in Children? With apraxia of speech, a person finds it difficult or impossible to move his or her mouth and tongue to speak. This happens, even though the person has the desire to speak and the mouth and tongue muscles are physically able to form words. Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder, where the child has a problem saying sounds, syllables and words. She knows what she wants to say, but her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.

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What to Expect: First Speech Therapy Lesson

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Speech Therapy for Speech Impediment

What to Expect: First Speech Therapy Visit for a Speech Impediment

Your child has been diagnosed with a speech impediment or speech disorder.  Whether she suffers from the common types of speech impediments such as stuttering, apraxia of speech, a speech sound disorder, cluttering or a lisp, early speech therapy intervention is crucial to successful treatment. But what happens in your first speech therapy visit? What can you expect? Here is a brief run-down of your first visit with a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Planning ahead and being prepared will help you make the most out of your first visit with a speech pathologist and set you on a successful course of speech therapy treatment.

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Will My Child Outgrow Her Speech Impediment?

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Speech Impediment?

Will My Child Outgrow Her Speech Impediment?

Your child hasn’t reached the speech and language milestones as quickly as her buddies. And, she says “thoup” instead of “soup”. Does this mean she has a speech impediment? Does she need speech therapy? Will she outgrow it on her own? Parents whose children are at the beginning stages of speech and language development ask these questions and more as their children’s speech patterns emerge. There are no real clinical “tests” to determine whether or not your child is a late talker, has a real speech impediment, or if it will indeed resolve itself on its own. Many children with early speech impairments do eventually outgrow them by the time they are ready for kindergarten. It  is important to discuss your concerns with your child’s healthcare provider for any developmental challenges as there are also many other causes and types of speech disorders.
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Five Common Speech Disorders in Children

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Speech Disorders

Five Common Speech Disorders in Children

You have determined that your child has more than just a speech delay, now what? How do you determine what kind of speech disorder your child has and more importantly, what do you do about it? We have listed below five common speech disorders in children. Of course, we always recommend a visit to your pediatrician if you feel your child has any of these symptoms, and an appointment with an SLP may be necessary to begin an effective speech therapy treatment plan.

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Speech Delay or Speech Disorder?

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Speech Disorder

How Do I Know if My Child Has a Speech Disorder, or if it’s a Simple Language Delay?

So you think your child’s speech and language development may be coming in a little slow?  Those cute babbles have yet to turn into clear words, as she is about to enter pre-school. But, how do you know it’s a speech disorder, rather than a simple speech delay? And, if indeed it is a speech disorder, what does that mean? Will my child be able to communicate effectively, will she be able to read, participate in class and most importantly, gain self-confidence?  These are just some of the questions parents face as their child begins to learn speech patterns and language skills as a toddler.

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