A language delay is when a child does not learn enough grammar or vocabulary for his/her age. Language delay can involve receptive language (understanding) and expressive language (speaking). If a parent feels their child is not using enough words for his/her age, or not understanding enough they should be referred to a Speech and Language Therapist.
Speech and Language delay can be independent of each other but can also co-occur. For example a child may have lots of language but that language is difficult to understand, or a child may say everything perfectly but not say enough. Some children have difficulty with both of these.
The causes of speech or language delay can be unknown, although there can be contributing factors such as ‘glue ear’, premature births, family history of delay and lack of exposure to language.
A speech therapist can determine the level of your child’s language through the assessment process.
A delay in development for a pre-school/school aged child ranges from mild (3-6 month delay) to severe (12 months + delayed). The aim of therapy would be to decrease the amount of delay and to help the child reach their linguistic potential.
A comprehensive language assessment is carried out to determine the specific areas of strengths and difficulty. From there, the Therapist and clients family work together to set the most appropriate goals to support the client to reach their potential.