As parents, we all eagerly await the first words of our child. However, when our child misses the typical milestones of speech development, we get concerned about speech delays. A speech delay can be caused by a variety of factors, and understanding them helps determine the appropriate treatment. Here are the main causes of speech delays in children.
Hearing loss is a common cause of speech delays in children. When a child has difficulty hearing, they may not be able to pick up on the nuances of spoken language, which can result in a delay in speech development. If you suspect that your child has a hearing loss, it’s important to have their hearing checked by a qualified audiologist.
Oral Motor Issues
Speech development requires strength, range of motion, accurate rate, precision, and coordination between the mouth, tongue, and jaw muscles. In some cases, children may have difficulty with these muscles, which can result in a speech delay. This can be due to a variety of factors, including tongue tie, cleft palate, or other structural abnormalities. Oral motor disorders can exist with or without a neurological component. A speech therapist can help diagnose and treat these issues.
Some children may experience developmental delays that can impact their speech development. This can be due to a variety of factors, such as genetic disorders, neurological conditions, or premature birth.
The environment in which a child grows up can also impact their speech development. For example, children who are not exposed to enough language in their early years may experience delays in speech development.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can affect communication and social interaction. Children with ASD may experience a delay in speech development or have difficulty with language comprehension, expressive language, and social communication. If you suspect that your child may have ASD, it’s important to consult with a pediatrician for diagnosis and treatment.
Speech Delay Assessments at Project Play Therapy
If you suspect that your child may have a speech delay, getting an evaluation from a speech and language pathologist is the first step. A trained professional can assess your child’s speech and language skill in comparison to age-matched peers. Through this testing, the SLP will be able to formulate a plan of care to meet your child’s needs. Early intervention is the most impactful way to address speech delays and help children meet their fullest potential. To learn more, contact Project Play Therapy.