7 Indications That Your Child Might Have Delayed Language

One of the many reasons that parents may request that their child is referred for speech therapy is language delay. Delayed language is a condition where speech and language development of young children of preschool age are deemed to be behind where they should be for their age.

A significant caveat relating to language delay is the fact that all children develop at different rates whether that be their physical growth, their reading skills, their cognitive abilities, and, of course, their language skills.

Often a parent will compare their child to others such as children of other family members and friends or at nurseries and preschool groups. The danger with that is that they could be comparing their child to another child whose language skills are very advanced for their age. A simple reason for that might be that they have older siblings who can spend time with that child and as such their interactions help to accelerate their little brother’s or little sister’s language development.

Despite the above, there are language and speech behaviours that genuinely may indicate to parents that their child has a language delay. If any of these apply, then it may a case of speaking to speech therapy experts, such as speech pathologists perth, to seek their advice. Below are seven of the language delay indicators we are referring to.

Poor Understanding And Use Of Simple Plurals

Understanding and speaking plurals for simple nouns is a basic milestone in a child’s language development, and if they are still struggling with them when they get to school age, it is an indication they may have language delay. A common example is them using not adding the letter “s” to words like dog, toy, and shoe.

Has Difficulty With Rhyming Words

This will be apparent when discussing words and sounds with the child rather than how they speak. They will indicate that they cannot think of rhyming words (e.g. log and dog), are unable to identify words that begin with the same sound (e.g. speed and speaker), nor are they able to link letters to the sounds they make (e.g. “s + h” making the sound at the start of sheep or shoe).

Not Using Verb Past Tenses Correctly

For verbs like run, break, hold, and fly, most children should be able to state that the past tense for these are ran, broke, held, and flew, respectively. However, a child with language delay will simply try to add “ed” meaning they might say “ranned”, “broked”, “holded”, and “flyed”

Unable To Follow Simple Two-Step Instructions

Often confused for a child misbehaving, language delay can hinder a child’s understanding of more complex syntax within compound sentences. This means when told to “Put your coat on after you put away your toys”, they may do them in the order spoken so the coat goes on first and toys are not put away second.

Struggles To Understand Opposites Or Categories

This can mean that the child does not fully identify opposites and how they are related to each other such as “up/down”, “big/small”, and “clean/dirty”. It also can mean they fail to grasp items all belong within a category such as a dog, cat, rabbit, and hamster all being pet animals.

Unable To Coherently Relay Simple Stories

Stories play a huge role in children’s learning and development but those with language delay find it harder to grasp concepts like the main character, timeline, and so on and this makes it difficult for them to re-tell a story they have heard. This can be tested by reading a child a simple story and asking them to tell it back.

Will Not Sit Patiently Or Quietly When Others Are Speaking

Many a parent will have seen their child display these behaviours occasionally, but when a child does it routinely it can be a sign that they have a language delay. As they are unable to understand what is being said they lose interest, their attention wanders, and they can show frustration or impatience.