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Signs & Symptoms of Delayed Speech & Language

Signs & Symptoms of Delayed Speech & LanguageGenerally, speech is the sound that we utter(Produce) with the help of our mouths(Articulators). But, when this sound is not understood by others, it is indicative of a speech problem.

Some of the common speech problems include delayed speech, stuttering, mispronunciation(misarticulation) etc.

Delayed speech indicates a delay in the speech processing mechanism(production). Language, on the other hand, has less to do with sounds, it is more about meanings.


It is a measure of intelligence. Language delay indicates a delay in the use of the language.

In this context, it is important to state that speech and language delay are not the same. Since language and speech are two different stages(things); the two may be delayed individually. A child, who is unable to utter(produce) intelligent speech sound, might not be suffering from the delayed language.

In such a case, the child might be trying to utter (has age appropriate)language, but the language can be difficult to be understood(expressed in speech).Similarly, a child having delayed language (not delayed speech), might not have got enough opportunity of producing speech sounds. Delayed language is when a child is developing language skill in the right sequence but at a slow rate.

How to Detect Delayed Speech and Language Problem?

You should consult a pediatrician when you find any of these signs and symptoms in your child:

  • If your child is not showing an indication of communication using sound,  or gestures, especially when they need your help
  • If your child is not saying almost 50 different words by the age of two
  • If your child is not using two or more words together, like “more toys”, “play time” etc. by the age of two
  • If your child is not able to generate words spontaneously (only can copy words from others) by the age of two
  • If your child is unable to understand your simple instructions or questions by the age of two
  • If your child is not making longer sentences by the age of three
  • If your child fails to understand your longer word phrases or instructions by the age of three
  • If your child is not asking questionsby the age of four
  • If you find your child is struggling to learn new words by the age of four
  • If your child is skipping important words in a sentence by the age of five

A Final Takeaway

If you detect any of these signs in your child, start treating him/her without any delay. Professionals who can help you are:

  • A Speech & Language pathologist

If you think that understanding and using language and speech is the main difficulty your child is facing, you should immediately take the child to doctors or counselors for a thorough pediatric hearing assessment.

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