Tag Archive | "speech development"

Speech Delay In Toddlers

Your toddler is 2 years old and still is not talking. Though he can say a few words, he cannot put whole sentences together unlike his playmate. Is this something you should worry about? Here is what you need to know about speech delay in toddlers.

Types of Speech Delay

There are 2 kinds of speech delay – expressive and receptive delay. Expressive speech delay is the inability to produce speech while receptive speech delay is the inability to comprehend and decode the words of others. In some instances, children may both have these types together (mixed expressive or mixed receptive speech delay), hence, they are incapable of generating any sound or speech.

Causes of Speech Delay

A lot of factors can cause speech delay in children.

  • Oral Impairment – Problems with the tongue, having a cleft palate or an extra fold beneath the tongue can restrain tongue movement to produce speech.
  • Developmental Disorders – Autism, mental retardation, PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) and auditory processing disorder (dysfunction of the central nervous system which results to a difficulty in identifying and understanding sounds) are also one of the major causes of speech delay because a toddler’s brain is still immature delaying the child’s ability to grasp, study and create speech.
  • Hearing Problems – Toddlers with hearing problems such as chronic ear infection can also suffer from speech delays. This is because they are unable to hear words and sounds to emulate them properly.

Spotting The Problem

If you are concerned about your toddler’s speech development, here are some warning signs you should watch for:

  • Does not use gestures such as waving, shaking and pointing
  • Prefers gestures over words to talk
  • Does not use consonants
  • Unable to speak at least 1 to 3 words
  • Unable to follow basic instructions (e.g. asking your toddler to hold an object or point at various body parts)
  • Does not imitate actions or words of others
  • Cannot join 2 words together
  • Has a strange tone of voice (raspy or nasal sounding)
  • Parents or caregivers have trouble understanding half of a toddler’s speech

How Parents Can Help

Read To Your Toddler

Reading is the foundation of speech and language development. Read to your baby on a daily basis. Stick to picture books to encourage your little one to focus while you name the pictures. Help him imitate the actions and point and identify the pictures.


Communicate with your toddler as much as you can. Sing, ask questions, inform him about your activities, explain to him what you are doing while cooking dinner or cleaning a room. Make sure you speak clearly and loudly and use simple words. Each time your toddler talks, reiterate and expand what he says. For instance, if he says “Mama, ball.”, say, “Yes. That is a big, red, bouncy ball.”. Then, have him repeat the words slowly.


Provide your toddler tons of positive reinforcement whenever he talks. Doing so boosts his confidence and will make him more motivated to try again.

Get Help

Consult with a speech-language pathologist. This specialist can give you a precise evaluation about your toddler’s condition. The doctor can also suggest speech therapy sessions to help improve his speech.

Be patient. Do not pressure your toddler to talk. Give him time to say what he wants to say. Sooner or later, your toddler will improve and start gabbing unceasingly.

Posted in Development, Developmental DisordersComments (0)

Stuttering In Children – Causes and Treatments

Stuttering in children is normal, especially those between two and five years old. This happens because they are still learning to talk and construct words. Stuttering is a form of dysfluency – a disruption in the flow of speech. Generally, it does not cause speech problems. But, it is essential for parents to know its causes as well as the treatments available to make sure that the stuttering does not affect the toddler’s self-esteem.



Stuttering can run in families. If you, your husband, your mother or a close family member also stutters or stuttered, then most likely your toddler will acquire it.


A toddler’s childhood can greatly affect his development. Stammering can be caused by stressful events such as divorce, welcoming a new baby, moving to a new house, starting preschool or death.

Speech Problems

Another cause of stammering is speech and language problems. Young children may stumble over their words because their brains have a different way of processing words which results to a problem with the way the brain’s messages interact with the muscles and body parts necessary for talking.

Family Dynamics

Although not yet proven, it is commonly believed that stuttering is attributed to high family expectations and a fast-paced lifestyle.


Create Opportunities For Talking

Most often, toddlers stutter because they are excited, angry or scared. Wait for your toddler to calm down and then engage him in conversations without distractions (no TV, computer, etc.). For example, you can talk with your little one during dinner, when giving him a bath or before tucking him to bed. Pleasant, stress-free conversations will help your toddler process his words better.

Do Not Be Too Critical

Pressuring your toddler with his speech will only make it worse. Avoid teasing, reacting pessimistically, correcting him or finishing his sentences every time your little one stutters. Instead, repeat the sentence fluently yourself so that he knows you understand him and hear how it is supposed to sound.

Speak Slowly

Each time you talk to your toddler, keep a calm, pleasant expression on your face, smile and then speak slowly and clearly. This will help him mimic your speech pattern, basically teaching him fluency and to slow down his own speech.

Do Fun Activities Together

Have fun together. Do enjoyable activities that focus on speech. Play charades. Build blocks. Read books. Role play. Sing a song. Your child may feel a little insecure because he is not able to talk straight. Thus, making him feel loved will give him reassurance that nothing is wrong with him, which is a very good confidence booster.

Speech Therapy

If you feel your toddler is a true stutterer (repetition of words become excessive, vocal tension, has facial and body movements along with the stammering and refuses to talk for fear of stuttering), it is best to talk to a speech therapist. A speech therapy program can help improve your toddler’s language while teaching techniques to stop the anxiety related with the condition.

Watching your toddler stammer is frustrating. But, do keep in mind that this is a normal phase in his speech development and he will outgrow it no time. As long as you are there to support him, everything will be fine.

Posted in Development, Language DevelopmentComments (0)

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