Language Delay

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What to expect

Language Delay

Language delay is delayed development of language skills in children. Children with language delay will fail to acquire the developmental milestones for language, on the normal schedule. Speech and language therapy can help to support and treat children with language delay by helping to increase and develop their language skills.

What is language delay?

Language delay is failure to develop expressive (verbal and written) and receptive (understanding) language on the typical developmental schedule.

Children with language delay will acquire language in the same pattern as their typically developing peers but at a slower rate.

Language delay is usually evident in the pre-school years i.e. below four years of age. A child with language delay will fail to acquire language at the same rate as their typically developing peers.

Language delay responds well to speech and language therapy and may resolve by school age.

What are the characteristic of language delay?

Characteristics of language delay include:

  • Absence or late development of babbling.
  • Failure to develop the one word stage at the typical age.
  • Difficulty putting two words together at the typical age.
  • Failure to express their wants and needs.
  • Failure to understand or carry out simple instructions.

Language delay may present as an expressive or receptive form or a combination of both.

What causes language delay?

There is no known cause for language delay however, it can often occur as a result of the following:

What problems caused by language delay can speech and language therapy help with?

As a result of their language delay children with language delay may also experience difficulties in the following:

How is language delay diagnosed?

Assessment carried out by the speech and language therapist will determine whether your child has language delay, this will assess whether your childs language performance is delayed in comparison to the typical population and what impact this is having on your childs ability to communicate.

An initial appointment carried out by the speech and language therapist will include the following:

  • A conversation with you about your childs language abilities and any concerns you may have.
  • Gathering information on your childs developmental history.
  • A general observation of your childs interaction, play and language skills.
  • A detailed assessment of your childs expressive and receptive language e.g. asking your child to name pictures and follow verbal instructions.

How does speech and language therapy help a child with language delay?

Speech and language therapy will help to determine whether your child has a language delay and whether intervention is needed or not. For children with language delay the main aim of speech and language therapy is to improve your childs communicative ability. Speech and language therapy will help your child to communicate to the best of their ability. Speech and language therapy may focus on improving and expanding your childs vocabulary and syntax (how we put words together to form a sentence). Speech and language therapy will focus on both understanding and expressive forms of communication and will be tailored to your childs specific abilities and needs. Speech and language therapy will also help you as a parent or carer to adapt your interaction and communicative style in order to help expand and improve your childs language skills.

Language delay will have an impact on how your child communicates with others around them and may restrict their interaction with peers. Early intervention for children with language delay will help to improve your childs communication skills which are important for when they start school.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for a child with language delay involve?

A detailed assessment of your childs speech and language skills will be carried out by the speech and language therapist. This initial assessment will help determine what the best treatment for your child will be. Speech and language therapy treatment may involve the following:

Specific treatment which will have developmental benefits for children with language delay is pre-school communication groups.

During the speech and language therapy treatment process you will be given the opportunity to share any concerns you may have, and to discuss what you would like to work on and improve.

How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment for language delay?

To arrange an assessment with one our speech and language therapists for your child please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 0885 643.

Summary

Language delay is the failure to develop language skills at the normal developmental rate. Language delay may impact on a childs ability to communicate effectively with others around them. It is usually evident in the preschool years and early intervention is extremely beneficial in improving your childs communication for when they start school. Speech and language therapy will aim to improve your childs communication skills. If you feel you and your child may benefit from our speech and language therapy service then please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing office@slt.co.uk or calling 01161 883 0077.


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To speak to a Speech and Language Therapist or to book an appointment, call us on 0161 883 0111 or email office@slt.co.uk

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