Language disorders are identified when a person has difficulty with expressive language, receptive language, or pragmatic language. Speech disorders are identified when a person's voice, fluency, or articulation call attention to the speaker because his or her speech is sufficiently different from the norm. Speech and language development should be consistent with a child's overall development and can be tracked using typical milestone markers.
Here are some signs that could cause concern:
- Doesn’t understand name, the word no, or simple commands by age 1
- Isn’t saying words by 14 to 16 months of age
- Can’t answer basic questions (what, where, who) by age 3
- Has difficulty being understood by people outside the family after age 3
- Has noticeable hesitations or repetitions in speech past age 5
- Can’t tell a sequential story (a story with a beginning, middle, and end) by age 5
- Shows limited development of vocabulary
If your child has any of the above problems, it’s a good idea to talk to your paediatrician. You can get a referral to a speech-language specialist to find out if a speech or language problem exists. Treatment options can be different for each child, so getting the right diagnosis is key.