Parent Intervention In A Child’s Speech-Language Therapy

Parents no longer play the role of the ‘observer’ in speech and language therapy of their child but act as ‘partners’ to the therapist in their child’s therapy process. Parent training for the parents or caretakers of children with delayed speech and language development has become an important feature of interventions offered by Speech Language Pathologists.

Recent studies have shown that parent involvement in the course of a child’s therapy helps accelerate the recovery progress and gets quicker and long-lasting results from therapy. 

Why is parent involvement critical?

  • Early intervention
    When it comes to speech difficulties early intervention is very important in determining the effectiveness of therapy. Early engagement in learning activities with parents such as shared reading and story-telling can improve a child’s vocabulary and encourages language growth and positive attitudes toward literacy. Therapy programs that provide training and consultations to parents usually make a significant difference in a child’s learning outcomes.
  • Primary role models
    Parents are a child’s first teacher and serve as a primary role model for them.  Multiple studies have shown that the quality of interaction with parents plays a formative role in a child’s early learning. The way parents or caretakers converse with their children is one of the strongest predictors of their child’s speech-language development.
  • Everyday therapy
    Speech-language therapy shouldn’t be confined to a therapy session only. With proper coaching from an SLP parents can also enhance a child’s communication skills and language development at home. 
  • Relationship Enhancement
    When parents become an active part of the process, they are better able to understand and relate to their child. Frequent consultations with the therapists keep the parents educated and updated about the process and improves the patient’s recovery progress. 
  • Empowerment 
    Parent consultations and increased involvement can also empower the parents and the patient. Parents can also learn about the ethical considerations and policies of the program. Once they get to know about the confidentiality policies and reporting procedures, parents are better equipped to protect their child from any maltreatment.

How can I get started?

Specially trained SLPs will be able to coach and train you through the process or form a personalized therapy plan and introduce PCIT (parent-child interaction therapy) techniques to support your child. However, you can adopt some of the following basic strategies at home to help you get started:

  • Rather than correcting their mistakes, act as a role model for your child i.e. converse the way you want them to interact. 
  • Show interest in what they have to say and praise them. 
  • Repeat what your child says, while adding new vocabulary to make the sentence more accurate.
  • Focus on the content of your child’s conversation rather than the quality of interaction.
  • Encourage interaction with family as well as outside of the house with a variety of people.
  • Face them when they are talking and try to speak clearly.
  • Encourage them to ask questions.

Traditionally, speech therapy involves only an SLP and the patient. However recently parent involvement has proved to be very effective in enhancing a child’s progress in speech-language development. The more involved and connected you are to the process the better would be the results of your child’s therapy

If you are worried about your child’s speech-language therapy program and want to learn more about your role in the process please do get in touch with our speech language pathologists. 

Key Questions to Ask Your Speech-Language Therapist Before Treatment

The decision to start speech-language therapy is never an easy one. Whether you are a parent, a caretaker or a patient, once you have decided to start therapy the first session can be a bit overwhelming. It is crucial to ask the appropriate questions from your therapist in order to understand the process and goals for the patient’s recovery.

Here are some important questions to ask your speech-language pathologist (SLP) before getting on board with a therapy program. 

Does the therapist have the right credentials?

Before starting therapy with a professional knowing about their education, experience and expertise in the field is really important. You can ask your SLP questions regarding:

  • Their qualification and certifications
  • Years of practice
  • Areas of expertise/specialties
  • Their approach to therapy
  • If they are registered with a professional organization that is recognized by the local government

How does the program work?

It is extremely important to cover all the logistics beforehand. Questions regarding fee structure, office hours etc. can prove to be really helpful in deciding whether to work with a particular program or not. You can ask your therapist about:

  • The setting of the treatment (online/in-person)
  • Speech therapist’s working hours
  • The payment schedule and if there is a fixed pricing plan
  • Insurance coverage

How Can I Support My Child?

In order to accelerate the progress of a child’s therapy, parent involvement plays a vital role. You can help your child through the process if you inquire about:  

  • The frequency of progress reports
  • Monitoring the sessions
  • Activities to be practiced at home with the child
  • How you can accelerate your child’s progress

What Can I Expect?

Since each patient suffers from a different challenge the length and nature of the treatment varies from person to person. If asked after the initial assessments an SLP should give a prognosis and draft a treatment plan which can give a parent a clearer picture of what to expect from the therapy program. You can ask your SLP about:

  • Goals/objectives of the therapy
  • Duration of therapy
  • Session schedules 

In addition to the aforementioned questions, make sure you feel comfortable in expressing any of your concerns. Working together with the therapist and communicating your needs from the very beginning can accelerate the recovery process of your child.

Speech-Language therapy usually begins after comprehensive assessments and evaluations. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) conducts a variety of tests and drafts out a personalized treatment plan for your child. 

While a professional SLP is properly informed and prepared when starting with a therapy program, it is important for parents to remain proactive and involved in the process. Asking the right questions might help you understand the process and goals for the patient’s recovery.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a system of communication used to replace and/or support natural speech. AAC helps those with speech, language and communication difficulties.

  • Augmentative communication supports or adds to the natural speech and makes it clearer e.g. sign language, visuals etc.
  • Alternative communication is used if speech is not very clear and is difficult to understand. 

How does it work?

AAC is of two types: aided and unaided. Aided AAC provides external support to natural speech. It generates speech through various means such as keyboards, symbol boards, cards, books, apps, speech generators etc. While unaided AAC includes non-soken natural communication gestures. It includes expressions, gestures, body language, sign language etc. Unaided AAC requires good motor control and help from another person who can interpret the message intended. 

AAC can be text based i.e. a person types what is to be said or symbol based i.e. someone who cannot read or spell uses symbols and pictures to communicate.

Benefits of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Communicating without speech is difficult. People who can not speak at all or have difficulty in speaking properly are unable to effectively express themselves which can be confusing and frustrating. Use of AAC can prove to be beneficial in this case. It can lead to:

  • Improved social interactions 
  • Increased autonomy
  • Increased participation in their communities 
  • Improved mental health
  • Better academic performance

AAC with a Speech-Language Pathologist 

An SLP will evaluate how well your child can speak and understand others and can help find the right AAC system for you. For temporary difficulties an SLP might suggest a basic AAC system and may need it for only a short time. For more permanent speech-language pr communication difficulties a more high-tech system might be introduced by your SLP.
Choosing AAC is a critical process that involves the ongoing consideration of multiple factors and the help of a professional SLP. If you are worried about choosing the right AAC system for your child please do get in touch with our skilled speech-language pathologists.

Language Disorders

A language disorder causes issues with understanding and/or expressing language. Language disorders are often developmental. Signs and symptoms of language disorders start to appear in early childhood and can persist into adulthood. 

Language disorders are a type of communication disorder and impact how people use and comprehend language. It is not a problem with speech, hearing or intelligence.

An individual with language disorder may struggle with:

  1. Forms of language: 
    • Phonology (patterns of sounds in a language)
    • Morphology (how words are formed and their relationship to other words in the same language)
    • Syntax (set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences in a given language)
  2. Content of language
    Semantics (meaning of words and phrases)
  3. Function of language
    Pragmatics (how words are used in context)

Types of language disorders

  1. Expressive language disorder: A child has trouble getting their message across when they talk. They often struggle with expressing thoughts and feelings.
  1. Receptive language disorder: A child has trouble understanding the meaning of what others are saying. They may also struggle with comprehending what they read.

Some children might often have both disorders at the same time. They may struggle with both using and understanding language.

Causes and risk factors

Language disorders have a strong genetic component like most communication disorders. Most professionals also attribute the condition to immature neural development.

Other possible causes and risk factors are:

  • Developmental delays 
  • Premature birth 
  • Brain damage during gestation or infancy. 
  • Low birth weight and other pregnancy related issues 
  • Birth defects such as Down syndrome or cerebral palsy
  • A family history of language disorders
  • Hearing loss
  • A brain injury or a brain tumor
  • A brain disorder such as autism
  • Stroke
  • Poor nutrition

Symptoms

A child with receptive language disorder may experience the following symptoms:

  • Have trouble understanding what others say, gestures, concepts.
  • Struggle with Reading and comprehending.
  • Difficulty in responding to others or answering questions.
  • Have trouble Identifying objects.
  • Have trouble Following instructions.
  • Struggle with learning new vocabulary.
  • Have limited vocabulary. 

A child with expressive language disorder may experience the following symptoms:

  • Have trouble using words correctly.
  • Inability to express thoughts and ideas.
  • Struggle with telling stories and using  gestures.
  • Have trouble asking questions.
  • Have trouble with naming objects.
  • Have limited vocabulary. 
  • Experience difficulty in forming sentences.
  • Impaired ability to explain or describe something.
  • Saying words in the wrong order or leaving words out entirely. 
  • Confusing tenses (for example, using past tense instead of present).

Treatment 

Early intervention often plays an important role in a successful outcome. The treatment for language disorder entails speech and language therapy. The treatment plan usually depends on a child’s age and severity of the symptoms. 

The speech-language pathologist (SLP) will help your child learn to enjoy communicating through play. They will use different tools and techniques to help your child with language and communication. The SLP will use methods that are best suited to your child’s condition.

They may use toys, books or pictures to help with language development. And SLP may have your child follow instructions for different activities like craft projects and help your child practice asking and answering questions.

Mental-health therapy can also be helpful to manage the anxiety and emotional issues that may arise as a result of a language disorder.

What can I do at home?

  • Try to speak calmly to your child. 
  • Try to maintain a relaxed environment at home to reduce anxiety .
  • Don’t show impatience or irritation when your child is talking to you.
  • Try to minimize interruptions when your child is speaking.
  • Don’t bring attention to your child’s speech disorder.
  • Ask your child to put your instructions in their own words after giving an explanation or command.
  • Ask the teacher about class activities in advance to help prepare your child for discussions in advance.
  • Discuss your child’s situation at their school to avoid bullying.
  • Discuss your child’s situation with their teachers and with family members. 

If you are child’s suffering from expressive or receptive language disorder and you want to learn more about how you can help them please do get in touch with our skilled speech-language pathologists.

Selective Mutism

Selective mutism is a childhood anxiety disorder that starts before the age of 5 years. It is characterized by inability for children to communicate in certain social situations. With selective mutism children have a hard time initiating conversations or responding when spoken to in social situations.

Children with selective mutism are able to talk in settings they feel safe and comfortable in such as with family and friends. Therefore, it might come to clinical attention once a child starts school and interacts with people outside of the family. 

What causes selective mutism

Since it’s a relatively rare condition, causes or risk factors of selective mutism are not known. There are few factors or triggers that make it more likely to develop.

  • Genetics: Family history of any anxiety disorder including selective mutism, phobias and speech-language problems.
  • Speech-language problems: Speech-language difficulties or minor learning disabilities and shyness might add to the child’s anxiety in situations where they are expected to speak.
  • Environmental factors: Poor familial relationships and overly controlling or overprotective parents 

There is a common misconception that selective mutism in children is often a result of trauma or abuse. However, children who become mute after abuse or trauma are mute in all situations and not specific social settings as is the case with selective mutism.

Lastly people believe that children with selective mutism are just shy or will grow out of it. In fact, these children are willing to speak but are unable to talk or communicate what they want to say due to extreme anxiety.

Signs of Selective Mutism

According to DSM-V the diagnostic criteria for Selective Mutism is as follows:

  • Consistent failure to speak in specific social situations in which there is an expectation for speaking, e.g., at school despite speaking in other situations.
  • The disturbance interferes with educational or occupational achievement or with social communication.
  • The duration of the disturbance is at least 1 month (not limited to the first month of school).
  • The failure to speak is not attributable to a lack of knowledge of, or comfort with, the spoken language required in the social situation.
  • The disturbance is not better accounted for by a Communication Disorder (e.g.,childhood-onset fluency disorder) and does not occur exclusively during the course of autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, or another psychotic disorder.

Treatment 

Selective mutism is most receptive to treatment when it is started early. The success of treatment will depend on the age of the child, presence of co-existing speech-language or learning difficulties and the cooperation of the parents and teachers. The treatment for selective mutism may include psychotherapy or medication and aims at reducing the anxiety associated with speaking. 

Therapy: Mental-health therapy and speech-language therapy is commonly used to treat selective mutism. In order to reduce the anxiety in social settings behavioural interventions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is most widely used by therapists.

Medication: It is only used in chronic cases or when therapy fails to achieve desired results. Anxiety medication is prescribed by doctors after consultation with the parents.

What can you do at home?

  • Don’t let your child know when you are anxious
  • Create a positive environment for them to encourage speech
  • Reassure them that they’ll overcome the conditions when they’re ready
  • Praise their effort when they interact with others verbally or nonverbally (nodding or pointing)
  • Don’t act surprised when your child makes progress but respond normally as you would to any other child

If you are child’s suffering from selective mutism and you want to learn more about how you can help them please do get in touch with our skilled speech-language pathologists.

Stammering

Stammering is a speech disorder that involves problems with the flow of speech. People who stammer repeat or prolong: words, sounds, syllables or phrases. 

Stammering is a common speech problem in childhood (most often occurring between ages 2 to 6) which can persist into adulthood. It is also known as stuttering, diffluent speech. and childhood-onset fluency disorder.   

Causes

According to experts there are no known obvious causes of Stammering. 

However, there are a few factors or triggers that make it more likely to develop.

  1. Genetic: Most experts agree that stuttering has a genetic component. Someone with stammering in the family is more likely to develop a stammer.
  1. Developmental stuttering: When children are learning to speak, they often go through a period of stuttering (from the age of 18 months to 2 years) since their speech and language skills are not well developed. This form of stuttering gets better as this developmental stage progresses.
  1. Neurogenic stuttering: In some cases, stammering may be a result of neurological conditions that lead to a problem in the way Signals are transmitted through the brain and nerves/muscles. The following may cause neurogenic stuttering:
  • Stroke
  • Head trauma
  • Tumors
  • Degenerative diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s)
  • Meningitis

Risk factors

Experts suggest that following factors may put your child at a greater risk for stuttering:

  1. Family history: A child is at a greater risk to develop a stutter if they have one or more family members who stutter in adulthood.
  2. Age: The earlier the stuttering starts, the less likely it is to continue into adulthood.
  3. Gender: Stammering in adulthood is four times more common among boys than girls.
  4. Psychological: Previously It was believed that stuttering was caused by psychological factors. However, this is no longer the case. Psychological factors don’t cause stuttering but may make it worse. For Example, stress or anxiety can increase the frequency of the stutter.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms largely vary depending on the age of the person however some common signs and symptoms are:

  • Problem starting a word, phrase or a sentence
  • Some sounds may be prolonged
  • Hesitation before uttering certain words
  • Silences or pauses within words
  • Adding words (interjections) such as umm. Like, I mean, well etc. 

Speech may be accompanied by:

  • Rapid blinking
  • Tremors of lip and jaw
  • Facial tics
  • Head jerks
  • Face and body tighten
  • Fist clenching
  • Foot tapping

Treatment

Stammering is most receptive to treatment when it is started early. Early treatment can prevent stuttering from continuing into adulthood. There are different speech and language therapy tools that can help people who stammer speak more easily. Because of varying individual issues and needs a treatment plan is designed usually after comprehensive assessments by a speech-language pathologist.

  • Treatment may not eliminate stuttering, but it can help:
  • Improve speech fluency
  • Boost your child’s confidence as they learn to improve their speech. 
  • Creating a safe environment where your child feels more confident about talking.
  • Develop communication skills
  • Reduce fear and anxiety associated with speaking.

What can I do at home?

Here are some steps you can take to help your stuttering child:

  • Try to speak calmly to your child. 
  • Try to maintain a relaxed environment at home.
  • Don’t show impatience or irritation when your child is talking to you.
  • Try to minimize interruptions when your child is speaking.
  • Don’t bring attention to your child’s speech disorder.
  • Try to have one-on-one time with your child.
  • Show interest in what they have to say and praise them. 
  • Avoid saying things such as: “Can you say that more clearly?” or “speak clearly”.
  • Focus on the content of your child’s conversation rather than the quality of interaction.
  • Talk openly about the condition if the child wants to talk about it. 
  • Discuss your child’s situation at their school to avoid bullying.

If you are worried about your child’s stutter and fluency issues and want to learn more about how you can help them please do get in touch with our skilled speech-language pathologists.

Early Intervention

Speech and language delays are common amongst young children. Some children catch up with their peers without any intervention while some children need a little help to reach their developmental goals. Since a child’s first five years are crucial for development Early identification and intervention of speech, language and hearing disorders is very important. The earlier a problem with speech, language or communication is identified the better is the outcome of treatment. 

Speech-language pathologists offer early intervention services to teach cognitive, communication, physical, sensory, social, emotional and adaptive self-help skills. Early intervention calls for identification and treatment of speech and language difficulties at the earliest possible stage from the onset.

Why is early intervention important?

Early intervention is highly beneficial for individuals with speech, language or communication needs. Benefits of early intervention include:

  • Improved social skills
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved academics
  • Ability to communicate more effectively with others
  • Intervention during the period of normal brain development results in better speech, language and communication outcomes 
  • Speech sound disorders can be quickly eliminated with early intervention
  • Parents and caregivers are at the centre of early intervention (Through early intervention, parents can be taught valuable early language strategies so that they can help facilitate their child’s speech and language development)

How does it work?

As part of a multidisciplinary care team an SLP carries out an initial assessment and determines the services needed by a child. They develop a long-term action plan and set goals for therapy sessions and for parents to practice at home. 

SLPs do not only focus on correcting issues as part of early intervention but they also help prevent the development of future disorders and difficulties by assessing risk factors and warning signs.  

How can I support my child?

Language development can happen at any time and in any place. You can facilitate your child’s language in your daily routine e.g. while working in the kitchen, during bath time or with bed time story telling rituals

  • Play games and activities
    How you interact with your child during play time as well as in daily routine largely shapes their speech, language and communication skills development. For example: Pretend Play (a tea party with your child’s toys and get them to copy your actions such as drinking from a cup etc.
  • Modelling Behaviour
    Children learn new words and sounds by listening to those around them therefore it is important to make sure you communicate clearly with your child.
  • Ask Questions
    Questions are important to develop a child’s understanding but a lot of questions during play can mean that the adult is leading. Ask your child simple questions and give the child plenty of time to answer your question. You can add to or expand on their sentences or vocabulary without interrupting them, when they are responding to your questions. 
  • Offering Choices
    Offering a choice to your child is an excellent way for your child to express themselves. For example, ask them if they want juice or water? Or choosing between choices. 

Delayed speech or language development

Speech and language development is a vital part of any child’s development process. Delayed speech-language development might impact a child’s social interactions, behaviours patterns and academic success. 

How are speech and language different?

  • Speech: Verbal expression of language (the actual sounds)
  • Language: System of words and symbols to express and receive information

What is delayed speech and language development?

  • Language delays: A child with developmental language delay might pronounce the words in the right manner but isn’t able to put two words together or form a proper sentence 
  • Speech delays: Might use words and phrases to express ideas but are difficult to understand

Causes and risk factors:

There are no known causes for developmental speech-language delay. However, some experts believe that speech sound disorders can be a result of:

  • Motor-neurological disorders e.g., apraxia
  • Structural abnormalities e.g., cleft lip or other orofacial anomalies 
  • Sensory/perceptual disorders e.g., hearing impairment 
  • Premature birth/birth defects
  • Family history of developmental speech-language delay

Treatment

Developmental speech-language delay usually requires speech-language therapy for alleviating symptoms. The earlier the intervention in the form of therapy starts the better are the results. The treatment plan usually depends on a child’s age and type and severity of the delay 

A comprehensive treatment plan is designed after assessments and evaluations by a speech-language pathologist. An SLP selects appropriate targets for therapy and treatment strategies based on the intervention goals to be addressed during sessions. Specialists such as Speech-language therapists, psychologists, behaviour-analysts and paediatricians most commonly work together to alleviate symptoms. 

How can I help my child? 

  • Ask questions from an SLP in order to understand the problems your child has.
  • Accompany your child during treatment.
  • Follow the suggestions your SLP makes.
  • Discuss your child’s situation at their school and with family members. 
  • Discuss your child’s progress with the SLP.
  • Try to speak calmly to your child.
  • Try to maintain a relaxed environment at home to reduce anxiety .
  • Don’t show impatience or irritation when your child is talking to you.
  • Try to minimize interruptions when your child is speaking.
  • Don’t bring attention to your child’s speech-language disorder.
  • Ask your child to put your instructions in their own words after giving an explanation or command.
  • Ask the teacher about class activities in advance to help prepare your child for discussions in advance.
  • Discuss your child’s situation at their school to avoid bullying.
  • Discuss your child’s situation with their teachers and with family members. 

Speech Sound Disorder

Speech sound disorder is a type of communication disorder which is characterized by difficulty with production or phonological representation of speech sounds. 

Children are able to produce almost all speech sounds by the age of 4-6 years. However, after that any persistent difficulty in producing specific sounds or words correctly is experienced may be a result of Speech sound disorder. Developmental effects and Influence of accent or dialect on speech are not to be characterized as language or speech-sound disorders. 

Speech sound disorder is an umbrella term that includes articulation and phonological disorder:

  • Articulation disorder is characterised by inability to produce of speech sounds e.g. distortions and substitutions. 
  • Phonological disorder is characterised by a child’s difficulty in understanding the sound system and speech rules of their language.

Causes

Speech sound disorder is considered to be idiopathic i.e. there are no known causes for them. However, some experts believe that speech sound disorders can be a result of an underlying:

  • Motor-neurological disorders e.g. apraxia
  • Structural abnormalities e.g. cleft lip or other orofacial anomalies 
  • Sensory/perceptual disorders e.g. hearing impairment 

Risk factors

The following factors may put a child at a greater risk for developing speech sound disorders

  • Family history: A child is at a greater risk to develop a speech sound disorder if they have one or more family members with speech and/or language difficulties.
  • Gender: According to studies prevalence of Speech sound disorders is higher in males than in females.
  • Prenatal/perinatal problems: Complications during pregnancy and during delivery may lead to speech sound disorders.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of speech sound disorders include the following:

  • Certain speech sounds are omitted or deleted (e.g. Saying “poon” for “spoon”).
  • One or more sounds are substituted (e.g. Saying “wadio” instead of “radio”).
  • Extra sounds are added into a word (e.g. Saying “puhlay” instead of “play”.
  • Sounds are altered or distorted (e.g. Saying “thith” instead of “this”).
  • Weak syllables are deleted from a word (e.g. “bay” instead of “baby”).
  • Simplifying a word by repeating 2 syllables (example: “bobo” instead of “bottle”).

Additional symptoms include a hoarse, raspy or nasal voice, abrupt changes in the pitch or volume of speech, and shortness of breath while speaking. 

Treatment

Those diagnosed with Speech sound disorders usually require speech therapy for alleviating symptoms. The earlier the intervention in the form of therapy starts the better are the results. The treatment plan usually depends on a child’s age and type and severity of the disorder. 

A comprehensive treatment plan is designed after assessments and evaluations by a speech-language pathologist. An SLP selects appropriate targets for therapy and treatment strategies based on the intervention goals to be addressed during sessions. An SLP usually aims to achieve the following goals when it comes to speech sound disorders:

  • Notice and fix speech sounds produced incorrectly.
  • Learn the correct way to speak. 
  • Practice speech (especially words and sounds articulated incorrectly).
  • Stabilizing production of target sounds.
  • Encouraging self-monitoring of speech and self-correction of errors.

They may achieve these goals through therapy with different activities or playing games. In addition to that an SLP might collaborate with teachers and parents of the child to facilitate the child’s learning progress. 

In addition to speech therapy an SLP might refer your child to a health-care provider if the disorder is caused by some structural deficits that require surgical intervention. Lastly mental-health counselling might also help with building self-esteem and reducing anxiety associated with speaking.

How can I help my child?

  • Ask questions from an SLP in order to understand the problems your child has.
  • Accompany your child during treatment.
  • Follow the suggestions your SLP makes.
  • Discuss your child’s situation at their school and with family members. 
  • Discuss your child’s progress with the SLP.

Developmental Language Delay

Developmental language delay is a communication disorder which is characterized by difficulty in understanding or using language. Children with DLD are unable to meet the language developmental milestones for their age. DLD includes a combination of hearing, speech and cognitive impairments. 

DLD can be receptive, expressive, or a combination of both. A receptive language deficit is when a child has difficulty understanding language while expressive language disorder happens when a child has difficulty using language to communicate.  

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors of DLD are largely unknown however it is most commonly associated with other conditions such as hearing impairment, intellectual disabilities, Autism, psychosocial issues and premature birth.

A child is most likely to have DLD if they have a family history of speech-language disorders or parents with lower educational background. In addition to that as per research boys are more likely to suffer from DLD in comparison to girls. 

Signs and symptoms

A child with DLD would not reach language milestones at the typical age. Signs and symptoms might vary for every child however some common symptoms include:

  • Not babbling by 15 months. 
  • Not talking by 2 years.
  • Difficulty in developing new vocabulary.
  • Difficulty in following directions.
  • Language used is immature for a child’s age.
  • Difficulty in comprehending and answering questions.
  • Difficulty in using words together to form sentences.
  • Poor pronunciation or articulation. 
  • Trouble with reading and writing.

The aforementioned signs might be representative of DLD however it is important to establish that not all children have the same language skills, communication, or learning abilities.

Treatment

The treatment for Developmental language delay entails speech and language therapy. An SLP usually carries out comprehensive assessments and evaluations in order to identify language development and areas of difficulty for a child and designs a suitable treatment plan. The treatment plan usually depends on a child’s age and severity of the symptoms. 

What can I do at home?

Follow these tips to encourage language development in your child:

  • Respond to your baby’s babbling.
  • Sing or talk to your baby. 
  • Read aloud to your child.
  • Use fun activities or games to help the child to learn more.
  • Use visuals aids to make understanding easier  (e.g. pictures, videos, gestures).
  • Introduce and explain new vocabulary.
  • Use simple language whilst playing with your child.
  • Ask the teacher about class activities in advance to help prepare your child for discussions in advance.
  • Discuss your child’s situation at their school to avoid bullying.
  • Discuss your child’s situation with their teachers and with other family members.