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Understanding Communication Delays and How to Help Your Child

May 01st, 2023 | by Kaitlin Love

Kaitlin Love

May 01st, 2023

What Are Communication Delays?

A communication delay is when a child doesn’t meet language and/or speech milestones appropriate for their age. Communication can be broken into two main categories: speech and language.

  • Speech refers to the spoken production of words and the way we articulate sounds (e.g., we need to be able to say the ‘r’ sound to be able to say ‘run’ instead of ‘wun’).
  • Language refers to the way that we give and receive information, so this can be spoken, non-spoken or written (e.g., asking for food or following instructions).

What Causes Communication Delays?

Many factors can potentially impact a child’s speech and language development, including but not limited to:

  • Structural differences: Cleft lip/palate, macroglossia
  • Oral motor function: Coordination, tone and strength of the oral muscles
  • Hearing difficulties
  • Other developmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disabilities


What Are Some Characteristics in Children with Communication Delays?

  • Not meeting or taking a long time to reach communication milestones
  • Difficulties understanding your child
  • Inability to express needs, wants and ideas


What Are Some Treatment Options for Communication Delays?

NAPA paediatric therapists will get to know your child and determine the most suitable intervention. Some of the possible interventions for communication delays include, but are not limited to:

  • Early intervention: Joint attention, engagement, vocabulary building & play
  • Speech sound therapy: Phonology, apraxia, dysarthria, articulation
  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC): Alternative methods of communication (other than verbal speech) can be through sign language, switches, picture cards or speech-generating devices
  • About the Author

    Ever since Kaitlin was young, she always knew she wanted to help people. After finding her way into speech pathology, she became truly passionate about supporting those with communication and swallowing needs. In her spare time, Kaitlin is constantly trying out new hobbies and spending time with her family, friends, and two dogs! 

About NAPA Centre

Learn about acquired brain injury (ABI) therapy options at NAPA Centre Australia.

At NAPA Centre, we take an individualised approach to paediatric speech therapy because we understand that no two children are alike. We provide the best and most innovative therapies from around the world all under one roof at our clinics throughout Australia, the UK and the US.

TAGS: Blogs, SLP
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