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Speech delay treatment

Speech Delay Treatment for Children: Early Signs of Speech Delay and When to Seek Help

In order to identify whether you need speech delay treatment for your child, you must first understand their condition by seeking professional help.

Developmental milestones are like signposts that help us understand what most kids can do at certain ages, but every child learns and grows in their special way, especially when it comes to speech development. Is speech delay a sign of autism? It could be, but not necessarily. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, speech delay is one of the most common concerns of parents, affecting about 3% to 10% of children. To identify whether you need speech delay treatment for your child, you must first understand their condition.

Let’s briefly discuss the difference between speech delay and language delay, key milestones in speech development, and when to seek help.

Know the Difference to Identify the Proper Speech Delay Treatment

Speech delay treatment

While they may seem alike, speech delays and language delays are distinct. A child might have one, the other, or both. Knowing the difference is key.

Speech Delay

Speech delay involves a child’s struggle with the articulation or sound production of speech. This means they may know what they want to say, but find it challenging to communicate it verbally in a way that’s easily understood by others.

For example:

  • A toddler might say “wawa” instead of “water.”
  • An older child might have trouble with specific sounds, like saying “thithter” instead of “sister.”

Children with speech delay might also:

  • Leave out sounds in words (saying “nana” instead of “banana”).
  • Replace one sound with another (saying “dum” instead of “gum”).
  • Simplify words by repeating two syllables (saying “baba” for “bottle”).

It’s important to note that while these children may have difficulty expressing themselves clearly, they typically understand what’s said to them and can follow instructions well.

Language Delay

Language delay refers to difficulties with either understanding what others say (receptive language delay) or being understood by others (expressive language delay). It’s not about how clear the speech is, but rather about grasping and using language.

For instance:

  • A child with receptive language delay might not follow simple instructions or respond to their name because they don’t understand the words.
  • A child with an expressive language delay might have a limited vocabulary or struggle to put words together to form sentences, making it hard for them to express their thoughts and needs.

Children with language delay might:

  • Use gestures instead of words to communicate.
  • Rely on familiar phrases and repeat them out of context.
  • Have trouble answering questions or joining in conversations.

In both cases, parents need to find out how speech therapy works to improve its impact on a child’s personal, social, academic, and vocational life.

When Do You Need Speech Delay Treatment?

Speech delay treatment

According to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, you will know whether your child needs speech delay treatment if they do not meet the generally accepted key milestones for speech development. These are:

  • Birth to 5 months. cooing; vocalizing of pleasure/displeasure sounds
  • 6 to 11 months. Babbling, repeating sounds, communicating by gestures, saying the first word
  • 12 to 17 months. Answering non-verbally, imitating simple words
  • 18 to 23 months. Vocabulary of 50 words pronounced unclearly; uses 2-word phrases
  • 2 to 3 years. improved speech pronunciation; uses 3-word sentences; knows pronouns
  • 3 to 4 years. expresses ideas and feelings; has fun with language

If there’s a delay in progress, what speech therapy exercises can you do for and with your child? Only a professional can correctly guide you in this situation.

Seek Help from Speech Delay Treatment Specialists and Guides

The inability to communicate properly can be frustrating for both parents and children. If you see signs of speech delay in your child, consult your pediatrician or a speech-language pathologist immediately. Addressing this issue head-on will improve your child’s communication skills, social interaction, and academic success.

Aside from your physician’s recommended exercises, you may add a video modeling tool to your child’s daily routine. The Mylo Speech Buddy App is a speech therapy support app for children with autism and speech delay. Mylo applies the video modeling method to help improve speech development, this method is recognized by institutions like Harvard University and more. On top of that, we create content in collaboration with parents and speech pathologists for a more effective approach. Find out more about the app here.