How to Identify Speech Disorder

Speech Disorder Article

We often hear the words speech and language when we speak casually about communication. But in the medical community, they have very different meanings, especially when it comes to speech and language disorders.

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.