Know the Signs of Speech and Language Disorders

Know the Signs of Speech and Language Disorders

The content provided here was curated from Identify The Signs, a campaign founded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  It provides valuable information about the Signs of common speech and language disorders in adults and children between birth to 4 years of age, an important stage in early detection of communication disorders.
 

Signs of common speech and language disorders in adults and children between birth to 4 years of age, an important stage in early detection of communication disorders.

 

Children: Signs of a Language Disorder

  • Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
  • Does not babble (4-7 months)
  • Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7-12 months)
  • Does not understand what others say (7 months-2 years)
  • Says only a few words (12-18 months)
  • Words are not easily understood (18 months-2 years)
  • Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5-3 years)
  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)
  • Has trouble with early reading and writing skills (2.5-3 years)

What Parents Can Do

  • Listen and respond to your child
  • Talk, read, and play with your child
  • Talk with your child in the language you are most comfortable using
  • Know it is good to teach your child to speak a second language
  • Talk about what you are doing and what your child is doing
  • Use a lot of different words with your child
  • Use longer sentences as your child gets older
  • Have your child play with other children

Children: Signs of a Speech Sound Disorder

  • Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1-2 years)
  • Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2-3 years)
  • Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2-3 years)

What Parents Can Do

  • Listen and respond to your child
  • Talk, read, and play with your child
  • Talk with your child in the language you are most comfortable using
  • Know it is good to teach your child to speak a second language
  • Talk about what you are doing and what your child is doing
  • Use a lot of different words with your child
  • Use longer sentences as your child gets older
  • Have your child play with other children

Children: Signs of a Speech Sound Disorder

  • Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1-2 years)
  • Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2-3 years)
  • Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2-3 years)

What Parents Can Do

  • Say the sounds correctly when you talk—it is okay if your child makes some mistakes with sounds
  • Do not correct speech sounds—it is more important to let your child keep talking

Children Signs of Stuttering (Disfluency)

  • Struggles to say sounds or words (2.5-3 years)
  • Repeats first sounds of words—”b-b-b-ball” for “ball” (2.5-3 years)
  • Pauses a lot while talking (2.5-3 years)
  • Stretches sounds out—”f-f-f-f-farm” for “farm” (2.5-3 years)

What Parents Can Do

  • Give your child time to talk
  • Do not interrupt or stop your child while he or she is speaking
  • See an SLP if you are concerned (Many young children stutter for a short period of time. In most cases, the stuttering will stop.)

Children: Signs of a Voice Disorder

  • Uses a hoarse or breathy voice
  • Uses a nasal-sounding voice

What Parents Can Do

  • See a doctor if your child sounds hoarse or breathy or has a nasal-sounding voice
  • Tell your child not to shout or scream
  • Keep your child away from cigarette smoke

Adults: Signs of Speech & Language Disorders

  • Struggles to say sounds or words (stuttering)
  • Repetition of words or parts of words (stuttering)
  • Speaks in short, fragmented phrases (expressive aphasia)
  • Says words in the wrong order (expressive aphasia)
  • Struggles with using words and understanding others (global aphasia)
  • Difficulty imitating speech sounds (apraxia)
  • Inconsistent errors (apraxia)
  • Slow rate of speech (apraxia)
  • Slurred speech (dysarthria)
  • Slow or rapid rate of speech, often with a mumbling quality (dysarthria)
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