When most people think of “speech delays,” they usually confuse the term with “language delays” – which is an entirely different subject. Language delays refer directly to the delay in language development, or a lack of the knowledge of language appropriate for various age groups. On the other hand, speech delays are a delay in the actual development of speech producing mechanisms. Found in young children and toddlers, speech delays characterize the development and process of making sounds through the mouth, vocal cords, tongue, etc. Speech delays can be caused by a number of factors, including physical-facial impairments and underdevelopments, or oral-motor dysfunctions within the brain.

Most prevalent throughout 1-4 years of age, the signs and symptoms of speech delays are numerous and sometimes subjective to each case. For instance, younger toddlers and children show signs of speech delays when they use nonverbal gestures rather than means of verbal communication. If the child is older, they may have issues following simple directions and signs, and show an inability to make two-word connections or form comprehensive sentences.

While speech delays are non-threatening, they can have long-lasting, negative impacts on a child’s overall growth, development, and socialization. It has also been proven that children who never underwent any speech therapy for speech delay issues were more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems in both child and adulthood. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your child is receiving proper therapy from trained and certified speech therapists.

At the ASLHC, your child’s therapy program starts with a full evaluation by one of our certified American Speech, Language, Hearing Association pathologists. Through a series of speech testing and hearing activities, our pathologists will be better equipped to provide your child with the proper therapy sessions and speech therapy classes they need to improve their ability to communicate.

Due to the variety of individual cases ranging from mild to severe, speech therapy and speech therapy classes are tailored to each individual child.

But a child’s success isn’t only the responsibility of the ASLHC, it is also a parent’s responsibility to ensure they are doing everything they can for their child. While this seems like a big tasks for most parents, the Center’s very own Laurel Rogers MA CCC-SLP is certified in the “It Takes Two to Talk” Hanen program for parents. In these sessions, parents of children with speech delays can learn how to help their children at home in a therapeutic, beneficial manner in addition to regular speech therapy classes and sessions.