Delayed Speech

Fatema Jagmag
Audiologist & Speech Therapist, Aured, Shaba Speech & Hearing Centre, Masina Hospital, Al-Sadique Ent & Ophthalmic Hospital, Mumbai, India
First Created: 01/06/2001  Last Updated: 08/01/2015

Patient Education

My child is three and a half years old but is still not speaking. What is the normal age of acquiring speech and language?

The child learns to say his first words around his first birthday and then progress to using two - word sentences followed by simple sentences. This whole procedure takes place by the age of two and a half to three years.

Is it normal for children to have delayed speech? When should I seek help?

If your child has not uttered his first meaningful word by the age of one and a half years, then consult your pediatrician who would do a detailed examination of the child to find out the cause of delay. The child should also be screened for his hearing ability.

My husband also did not speak till he was 4 years old. Is delayed speech hereditary?

Yes, to a very small extent. But still, you cannot ignore the fact that your child is not speaking and hence he needs to be attended.

What are the causes of delayed speech?

There are many causes of delayed speech such as

  • Hearing loss

  • Slow motor development

  • Lack of stimulation in the environment

  • Mental retardation

  • Cleft lip/palate

  • Children with a history of birth complications i.e. high risk babies

  • Emotional and behavioral problems in the child

Whom should I consult for my child's delayed speech?

A language and speech pathologist would be the right person to guide you. She would evaluate the child in all aspects by carrying out various tests and investigations and find out the causes of delayed speech and then proceed with therapy.

What kind of therapy will be given to my child?

The therapy depends on the cause of the delay in speech. If your child is normal in all respects then, it could be that the environment is not stimulating enough for the child to start speaking, in that case, the therapy would be in the form of play.

What should I do if my child is a high-risk baby?

If your child is a high-risk baby then you should monitor his developments very carefully. If the child shows any signs of delay even in motor milestones e.g. Neck holding, sitting, crawling, etc you should immediately consult your Pediatrician/Physiotherapist/Occupational therapist. At this point also consult a language and speech Pathologist, who would guide you as to how to stimulate your child so that he is not delayed in speech development.

Delayed Speech Delayed Speech 2015-08-01
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