Play & Learn

Is Your Child Having Speech Delay? Here’s How To Check!

ByJerni Camposano-GomezJanuary 19, 2023
toddler covering her ears
As your little one grows, they meet developmental milestones that excite the supportive mama in you and make you look forward to many more. They start developing the necessary skills they will need as they move forward in life.
Speech and language skills, for one, are acquired during the first three years of your little one. They start mumbling their first syllables and babble more and more until they utter their first words, speak phrases, and string words into sentences.
However, some children face difficulties in the speech development department. They may have issues in receptive and expressive language, problems with articulation and pronunciation, and using language to communicate. Speech delay is a general term used to describe children “who can’t speak well.”
So how can you tell if your child has this issue? Watch out for these speech delay signs:
Between 6 to 12 months old: They don’t babble much or at all. Babbling is a child’s stepping stone to their first words as this helps them practice mouth movements and making consonant-vowel and vowel-consonant sounds.
Around 18 to 20 months old: They still cannot utter single words. Most children speak their first word at around the time of their first birthday. If your child can speak, they use only 10 words or less.
At 2 years old: Your child is still not verbal. They don’t use words to communicate or express themselves. There is speech delay in toddlers when they only use gestures to send you their message. They’re also not stringing words together to form two-word phrases and could not respond to simple questions.
At 3 years old: What does speech delay at 3 years old look like? Your child’s speech is unclear. No one can make sense of what they are saying or everyone’s having a hard time understanding what they’re saying. They also cannot say at least 200 words.
At preschool age: They don’t follow and participate in classroom activities.
So what are the causes of speech delay in children?
According to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital of the University of Michigan, speech delays can be caused by developmental speech and learning disorders caused by the brain working differently, prematurity, hearing loss, and Auditory Processing Disorder or the problem with decoding speech sounds.
A study published by the American Academy of Family Physicians enumerates more reasons for speech delay in children. It can be “a symptom of many disorders, including mental retardation, hearing loss, an expressive language disorder, psychosocial deprivation, autism, elective mutism, receptive aphasia and cerebral palsy. Speech delay may be secondary to maturation delay or bilingualism.”
Speech delay can have an impact on your child’s social and academic skills. So it’s best to get speech delay treatment to address the problem.
Bring your child to their pediatrician as they will be able to assess their speech capabilities as well as check their mouth, palate, and tongue. You can also try having their hearing checked.
Their doctor will then refer your child to other specialists — a physician, a speech-language pathologist, a psychologist, an audiologist, or a neurologist — based on the cause of their speech delay. The most common treatment will be speech therapy and this will depend on your little one’s age and the cause and extent of their condition.
Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother. We're here for you, Mama! At edamama, you get to Discover tips, stories, and all things motherhood, Explore opportunities for fun and learning, Connect with experts and fellow mamas, and Shop for your and your little bean’s essentials.