Delayed Speech Development in Children

Posted by:gulf onSeptember 20, 2017

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao 

One of the most exciting moments of parenthood especially for first-time parents is when a child begins to utter syllables and eventually speaks his/her first word. Eager moms or dads usually record a milestone such as this to preserve the heartwarming memory. However, speech and language disorders may impede children from joining family and community activities, developing social skills, and building up self-confidence, eventually making it hard for them to grow positively.

The video below shows how even a mild hearing loss can impact a child’s speech and language:

Speech is different from language as it has a narrower meaning; it particularly refers to sounds produced by the oral mechanism, including the tongue, lips and vocal cords. Since kids acquire speech at their own pace, parents should be observant if the delay seems somewhat later than expected. Here are warning signs that your child may be experiencing delayed speech development:

  • Does not say “mama” or “dada” by 12 months
  • Does not babble and use waving or pointing gestures by 12 months
  • Is not communicative when in need of help by 18 months
  • Does not have a rapidly growing vocabulary
  • Cannot respond to simple directions by two years
  • Does not imitate the actions or words of others
  • Cannot join two words together
  • Does not ask simple questions
  • Not one in the family cannot seem to understand him/her
  • Unable to understand instructions by age four
  • Has very unclear speech and does not use pronouns “me” and “you” properly

Do note that each child undergoes different stages of development and some may be more advanced than others. It may also be due to internal or external factors beyond your control. To enable your child to progress through each stage succesfully and easily, parents should be more considerate and understanding of the needs of their children.

One of the likely causes for delayed speech development is hearing loss or auditory processing problems. If your instinct tells you that something is wrong or you notice some of the above-mentioned signs manifesting in your child’s behavior, talk to a specialist. An audiologist can perform various hearing tests to help in the diagnosis and management of the problem, and thus, allowing your child’s abilities to be nurtured at a pace that is most comfortable and enjoyable for him/her.

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