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Recognize the Early Signs of Speech-Language Problems

Each child develops and reaches milestones at their own pace. While as parents we know this, we still feel anxiety when our child doesn’t start talking when other little ones do. How do you know when your child is just moving at their own pace and when they may have a speech-language disorder? What are early signs that you can look for? 

Speech-Language Disorders that Affect Young Children

Signs of a speech-language disorder vary based on what may be affecting your child. Four common disorders that develop in young children are, 

  • Language disorders – The child has difficulty either understanding (receptive) or using language (expressive)
  • Speech sound disorders – The child has trouble pronouncing sounds or uses unintelligible speech
  • Fluency disorders – The child has interruptions in speech such as hesitation and repetition
  • Voice disorders – The child has problems controlling volume, quality, or pitch of their voice

Signs of a Language Disorder

Language disorder is typically the earliest to show signs in children. Some early signs by age include, 

  • Your child doesn’t smile or interact with others (3 months)
  • Your child doesn’t make babbling sounds (9 months)
  • Your child doesn’t use gestures, for example pointing or waving (7–12 months)
  • Your child has not said their first word (15 months)
  • Your child doesn’t follow simple directions (20 months)
  • Your child doesn’t put simple words together to make sentences, for example, “Dog sit” or “Want drink” (1½–2 years)
  • Your child has trouble interacting with other children (2–3 years)
  • Your child’s vocabulary is less than 50 words (2 years)

Signs of a Speech Sound Disorder

Speech sound disorder typically begins to express around age two. Some signs include, 

  • Strangers have a hard time understanding what the child is saying
    • 50% of the time (age 2)
    • 75% of the time (age 3)
  • Your child has trouble consistently producing the same sounds or words

Fluency and voice disorders typically show signs once a child begins to be vocal and use words to communicate. 

Signs of a Fluency Disorder

  • Stuttering or repeating the first sound in words, for example “k-k-k-kid” for “kid”
  • Stretching sounds out too long, for example hanging on the “b” sound in ball before saying the rest of the word
  • Talking exceptionally fast compared to family or other children their age

Signs of a Voice Disorder

  • Your child speaks with a hoarse or breathy voice
  • Your child is unable to speak loudly
  • Your child has a chronic cough or tries to clear their throat a lot

Enrich Your Child’s Development

If you’re looking for a speech or behavior specialist for kids in Huntingdon Valley PA, contact us today. We’ll be happy to discuss your child’s needs and our services to match you with the perfect program. 

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