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How to identify if your child has a speech delay?

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Talking is a child's stage like an important skill or any other milestone. The beginning of this milestone may vary. Some start babbling from the age of 8 months while other children do the same work at the age of 15 months. However, by the age of 2, a child must receive a proper speech, including the use of three or more words to complete a sentence.


Several parents whose toddler has not started talking, being at the age of 2, and doing other activities perfectly well, say that everybody tells them "not to worry as there was some other child too in the family who started talking late", or "boys generally start talking late, and girls do it fast". Even if any parent wants to seek a doctor's advice for this delay, then most of the time other family members stop the parent telling, "the toddler is too young to understand anything now, so leave it. Just wait and see."


Such situations only create confusion for every parent. The only question that arises in their minds is whether their child is normal or suffering from any problem. Usually, talking late is considered as autism in children, but in actual, there is nothing like that. It is not autism rather it is a speech delay.

A toddler with a speech delay or a 'Late-talker' is a toddler between the age of 18 to 30 months who understands the language very well but has a limited spoken vocabulary.

The child can understand the instructions given to him clearly, but find it difficult to express himself in a particular situation. Here, you may find your kid is singing well but when you ask your child to narrate a particular situation, he won't be able to do it. In short, the monologues are perfect whereas the dialogues are not.

The autistic child is someone who has repetitive and stereotyped body movements. He may show up unusual responses towards an object or a person and even aggressive and self-injurious behavior.

Autism is one of the serious developmental disorder, whereas Speech delay is not a disorder.

An autistic child may suffer from speech dysfunction, but a child with a speech delay may not have autism.

How to detect Speech delay in Toddler?


It is one of the known facts that each child grows at his own pace. It can be either quick or it can be slow. If it is early then it is a matter of appreciation, however, if it is slow then identify where is your child lagging in comparison to other children of the same age.

Usually, not every delay is serious if proper help and support is been provided to the toddler at the correct time, kids usually catch up very soon. The delays in the category of mental development, physical growth, and the emotional level should never be ignored, rather it has to be handled with extra care and some expert guidance.


Speech Delay in toddlers is a kind of developmental delay which happens when a child is unable to produce clear speech sounds. The age-related milestones that help parents to detect speech delay in toddlers are attached here in the PDF document format.


So, if you see any skill missing in your child's activity according to his age, then do not hesitate to speak with Developmental Pediatrician.


What are the causes behind speech delay in toddlers?


There can be many reasons for speech delay in toddlers. Usually, the reasons can be - any kind of infection in the ear, hearing loss, oral-motor problem, and oral impairment.


These all were the medical reasons behind the speech delay in toddlers. However, there are some other reasons too which leads to speech delay in toddlers. These reasons are -the

  1. Parents not spending enough time with children to talk - parents being busy with their busy lifestyle, they do not spend much time with their children resulting in psychological deprivation in a child.


2. Excessive use of smartphones and other electronic gadgets - Studies have revealed that excess use of smartphones, tablets, etc. can prevent social development and direct communication skills in children.


3. Being a twin or triplet - Study shows that speech delay occurs more in twins or triplets because they spend more time with each other, and they have a regular input of immature speech sounds. Moreover, parents of twin or triplet talk more often to one child while looking at or dealing with others.


How common is the speech delay in toddlers?


According to NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders), nearly 1 in 12 (7.7 per cent) U.S. children ages 3-17 has had a disorder related to voice, speech, language or swallowing in the past 12 months.


According to the Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, speech delay is a common childhood problem that affects 3% to 10% of the children. Hence, more common in boys than in girls

How to treat speech delay in toddlers?

Speech delay can be treated with the help of a speech therapist. However, the first point of contact here should be 'Developmental Pediatrician'. Besides, parental involvement can bring a lot of help to a child having a speech delay.

  • Spend a lot of time with your child. Even during the infant stage, your baby needs you so that you can talk, sing and encourage him. to show hand gestures.

  • Read aloud with your child. You can start reading age-appropriate books with your toddler to build up his confidence. You can search for good books for your baby here.

  • Talk to your child more often and daily. Describe your child what is happening in and around that area. Tell the name of the objects whichever he sees or touch. This helps in enhancing vocabulary.

Lastly, it is vital to recognize and treat speech delay in toddler early. Do not overlook or avoid it. ANy delay in terms of development can act as a barrier to his overall growth. A good speech therapist and parental support and help can make your child confident enough to communicate with the rest of the world.


Hope you have found this blog to be informative and helpful. Do not forget to share your comments in the comment section below.



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