At an early age, individuals develop speech and language skills at a different pace from one another.You may have started to speak words clearly earlier than your older sibling did.
Amidst the variability, there are age-expected levels known as developmental milestones that help parents, educators, and health professionals identify those with speech and language delays. It is very important to recognise this developmental delay at an early stage since the early childhood years have the greatest impacts later in life.
Toddlers with speech and language delays do not make or respond to communication; they are often not responsive to carers; they tend to jargon, they tend to point or use body language more than using language when trying to communicate.
To be more specific, there are different kinds of delays and/or disorders in this area. When producing sounds is difficult like have a hard time getting the words out, take long pauses between their words, and other behaviours persist and distract the listener, one may have a speech or fluency delay.
When someone exhibits significant unusual voice quality such as hoarseness, breathiness or who speaks too loud or too soft might be demonstrating a voice disorder.
If your little one has a difficulty expressing his/her ideas, needs, and wants, they might make use of nonverbal gestures or become easily frustrated if the adult does not understand their request. When it is persistent, this can lead to disruptive behaviour. This may signal an expressive language disorder.
People with expressive language disorder are known to confuse words, such as pronouns, for example, he/she might say “Him hit me.” They also frequently substitute vague words such as “thing” or “stuff” instead of specific labels. This grows into a concern if more and more specific words are not used at all.
On the other hand, if you or your learner is having a persistent trouble in understanding what he/she had just heard, then you may have the receptive language disorder. Typically, this difficulty begins at the age of three years. Those with this kind of disorder cannot easily or correctly respond to questions and execute the appropriate behaviour.
Some children often repeat the words (echolalia) in a question instead of answering them. For instance, “Do you want a cookie?” The child says, “Want a cookie?” You may also find yourself repeating a question a couple of time because children with this disorder would usually take a long time in expressing their thoughts.
To enable and improve their listening skills, it is very important for you, your young learners, or someone you know with speech and language delays to take an active intervention such as the Tomatis® Method. Learn more about speech and language delays and how we can help below!