Late Bloomer or Language Delay? Common Delays in Your Child’s Language Development
This article provides helpful information for your child’s language development. It can help you determine if your child struggles with expressive or receptive language and if they need professional assistance.
Have you ever watched a baby develop their language skills? Have you ever stopped to think about how language develops? Understanding how language skills develop helps us understand if our children need an extra boost when it comes to their language development.
Language is often confused with speech because both typically develop hand-in-hand. However, language has two types: receptive and expressive. Receptive language is when a child understands what you say to them or understands questions you ask. Expressive language is when your child responds to you by answering your question, when they ask you for something or they tell you when they are hungry. Your child uses their expressive language to verbally communicate their wants and needs to you. Speech on the other hand is how your child pronounces and articulates sounds, letters and words.
How to Recognize a Language Delay
While every child develops in their own time and in their own pace, there are a few signs you can watch for to see if their receptive and expressive language is developing or if there are potential gaps. For example, some children do not start speaking one word at a time. Instead, they may wait before they can form sentences and may start with short phrases. Some parents may find this frightening at first because they think their child is non-verbal. However, if your child’s receptive language appears to be strong and they acknowledge most of what you say, it’s a good sign that their expressive language is on its way. Some children may be considered “late talkers,” but eventually their communication skills become equally as strong as their receptive language skills.
Children with expressive language delays, or those that aren’t yet old enough to express what he or she needs, may throw temper tantrums, have meltdowns, or parents often think they have behavioral issues. What typically causes this type of reaction is the child wants so badly to communicate their wants and needs to their parents, but they have not yet developed the language skills necessary to say what they want. Most kids with language delays struggle because what they want to say is in their head (receptive – they understood), but they can’t get it out of their mouth (expressive).
In these cases, simple gestures or using sign language can be used to better communicate with your child; however, signs and signals should be used in conjunction with speech and language development and not a substitute for it. Many parents have had success using signs when their child was first developing their speech and language skills, but it’s important to keep in mind signing might not work for all children with speech and language delays. If your child has obvious delays in their receptive and expressive language skills along with speech issues, you may consider asking a professional about how music therapy can open speech and language in your child.
Signs of Language Delays
Childhood milestones are behaviors and skills that emerge over time. They form building blocks of growth and development for your child’s cognitive, emotional and social well-being. Understanding certain milestones is like following a road map to determine trouble spots and where to focus your time and energy. Language is one of the most important milestones in every child’s life because it is a pro-social skill as well as a cognitive function.
When a child experiences their parents’ excitement at their first word or the answer to a question, it only encourages speech and language development further. Because a child learns at their own pace, general milestone achievements are a good way to gage if your child is on track. If your child happens to be slower than average, it does not mean there will be a problem in the future. It simply means that you should watch that set of skills closely for any further delays.
If you suspect your child is delayed in their language development, you may notice a few of the signs below. If a child does not achieve some of these goals, it does not necessarily mean they won’t develop those skills later down the road.
Signs of Receptive Language Delay
Signs of Expressive Language Delay
|At 12 months, child does not recognize their name.||At 12 months, child does not say 1 to 2 words.|
|At 15 months, child does not point or look at object when a caregiver names the object.||At 15 months, a “need” word does not emerge, such as “up” or “more.”|
|At 18 months, child does not follow simple instructions, such as “get your blanket.”||At 18 months, child is not saying “momma” “dadda” and other names.|
|At 24 months, child does not point to body part when it is named.||At 24 months, child is not using at least 25 words.|
|At 30 months, child does not respond by nodding or doesn’t respond out loud when asked a simple question (for example, “Do you want a glass of milk?”).||At 30 months, child is not using 2-word phrases, “mama, please.”|
|At 36 months, child does not understand action words “running, kicking” and the word “not.”||At 36 months, child does not have a 200 word vocabulary.|
|At 3 years, child cannot identify an item in a familiar group of items, “show me which object is the moon.”||At 3 years, child is not asking for an object with a complete sentence most of the time.|
|At 3 1/2 years, child does not follow 2-step directions.||At 3 1/2 years, child does not ask questions with “why,” “what,” or “where.”|
|At 4 years, child does not understand past tense correctly.||At 4 years, often uses common words incorrectly.|
If your child struggles in any of the areas above, you may want to seek help with a speech pathologist, speech and language therapist or music specialist. All of these professionals can assist in helping your child achieve better expressive and receptive language.
In addition, music therapy is one of the most effective interventions we have used for our students. Speech pathologists have contacted us several times to find out how they can incorporate music therapy into their practices because the intervention is so effective for speech and language development.
If you want to strengthen your child’s speech and language skills at home, click here for additional ideas our parents use with their kids.
Language Delays Printable
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Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs
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