Language delay: how can we identify it

Language delay occurs when children’s language acquisition, in any of its different stages, is slower than that of their peers, without associated hearing or neurological problems.

How can it be identified?

As we said before, it can be observed when the acquisition is slower, for example, if at 12 months of age the child does not use gestures, such as pointing or waving goodbye, or at two years of age does not generate words or phrases spontaneously.

What are the usual stages when children begin to speak?

  • 0-4 months: emits sounds to express feelings, creates guttural sounds (k, g, j) and vowels (a, o, e), emits spontaneous articulations (garlic), imitates familiar sounds.
  • 4-6 months: recognizes and responds to his name with sounds, babbling of two unconnected syllables and longer sounds to respond to adult voices; varies volume and intonation, tries to reproduce new sounds.
  • 6-9 months: laleo (mamama, papa), four-syllable babbles widely used in play, vowel emissions and gestures and cries for attention, imitates onomatopoeias, knows and responds to his name, follows turns in conversation.
  • 10-12 months: first words referring to objects and people nearby, speaks in own slang during play, understands simple commands with gestural support, says dada and mama, repeats familiar two-syllable words.
  • 12-18 months: holophrases, imitates familiar words, names familiar objects and people, imitates new bisyllabic words, slang with sentence structure.
  • 18-24 months: lexical explosion of 50-100 words, amalgamations (note – is not) imitates sounds of the environment while playing, says his name, creates sentences with one or two words, decreases slang.
  • 2-3 years: telegraphic stage, imitates and produces simple sentences with 4 elements, omits articles, prepositions, uses pronouns, overgeneralization of verbs, answers closed yes/no questions and open questions with adult help, says first and last name, says what he/she says aloud, why? questions stage.
  • 3-4 years: can say full name and age, asks and understands why, what, how and when, understands familiar semantic categories, creates complete sentences of up to 8 words, understands commands of up to 3 actions and 3 objects, follows short stories.
  • 4-5 years: likes to tell his recent experiences, can tell his address, understands negation, uses pronouns and possessives, understands words referring to time (yesterday, today, tomorrow), his sentences include verbs, relative, circumstance and consequences and interrogatives, differentiates between synonyms and antonyms, understands some abstract concepts.
  • 5-6 years: pronounces fluently a lot of vocabulary, knows how to say his date of birth and telephone number, his sentences are similar to those of adults, use of the future and conditional, names things and if he does not know them he asks, relates important events in his life, answers why and why happens if, shows interest in writing and copying.
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Can it be treated effectively at any age?

It is important to understand that the plasticity of the brain is greater the younger the child is. Therefore, learning will be easier between the ages of 0 and 6 years. Seeing a speech therapist early in these cases will reduce the language delay, improving in a shorter time, avoiding future problems of delay in other areas such as reading, writing and learning.

How is it treated at Clínica Áurea?

At Áurea we work on comprehension as well as expression and pronunciation, beginning with the acquisition of vocabulary and sounds using gestures. We start with simple and functional vocabulary for the child, little by little we will introduce more complex words such as verbs, we will start to build two-word sentences, then we will use nexuses, etc.