Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Speech and Language Delay: What Does This Mean for My Child?
How do I know if my child has speech delay?
If your child doesn't talk as much as most children of the same age, the problem may be speech delay. Your doctor may think your child has speech delay if he or she isn't able to do these things:
What causes speech delay?
These are the most common causes of speech delay:
Other causes include:
Why might living in a bilingual home affect my child's language and speech?
The brain has to work harder to interpret and use 2 languages, so it may take longer for children to start using either one or both of the languages they're learning. It's not unusual for a bilingual child to use just one language for a while.
What can my doctor do to find out if speech delay is the problem?
Your doctor can listen to your child's speech and check your child's mental development. Your child should also have a hearing test, just in case your child is having trouble hearing.
What can be done if my child has speech delay?
Your child may not need any treatment. Some children just take more time to start talking. The way your doctor might treat your child depends on the cause of the speech delay. Your doctor will tell you the cause of your child's problem and explain any treatments that might fix the problem or make it better. A speech and language pathologist might be helpful in making treatment plans. This person can show you how to help your child talk more and speak better, and also can teach your child how to listen or how to lip read.
Other health care workers who may be able to help you and your child include: an audiologist (a hearing doctor), a psychologist (a specialist in behavior problems), an occupational therapist and a social worker (who can help with family problems). Your family doctor will refer you to these health care workers if your child needs their help.