We have heard that parents and therapists have great results using Otsimo Speech Therapy with speech delayed kids. In this article, we will briefly explain what speech delay is and give you practical advice on how to use Otsimo Speech Therapy with your late talker.
What is Speech Delay?
A speech delayed child, or a late talker, is a toddler between who has good understanding of language, typically developing play skills, motor skills, thinking skills, and social skills, but has a limited spoken vocabulary for their age. The difficulty late talking children have is specifically with spoken or expressive language. This group of children can be very puzzling because they have all of the building blocks for spoken language, yet they don’t talk or talk very little.
A language delay, on the other hand, is much broader and refers to the entire system of expressing and receiving information in a way that’s meaningful. Language delay is about understanding and being understood through communication — verbal, nonverbal, and written, which is different than speech that explicitly refers to the verbal expression of language and includes articulation.
Although problems in speech and language differ, they often overlap. A child with a language problem may be able to pronounce words well but be unable to put more than two words together. Another child’s speech may be difficult to understand, but he or she may use words and phrases to express ideas. And another child may speak well but have difficulty following directions.
There are a few reasons why a child may have a speech delay. For instance, a speech delay in an otherwise normally developing child might be due to an oral impairment, like problems with the tongue or palate. And a short frenulum (the fold beneath the tongue) can limit tongue movement for speech production.
Many kids with speech delays have oral-motor problems. These happen when there’s a problem in the areas of the brain responsible for speech, making it hard to coordinate the lips, tongue, and jaw to produce speech sounds. These kids also might have other oral-motor problems, such as feeding difficulties.
Hearing problems are also commonly related to delayed speech. That’s why an audiologist should test a child’s hearing whenever there’s a speech concern. Kids who have trouble hearing may have trouble articulating as well as understanding, imitating, and using language.
Other causes behind speech delay include:
- Psychosocial deprivation (the child doesn’t spend enough time talking with adults)
- Being a twin
- Elective mutism (the child just doesn’t want to talk)
- Cerebral palsy (a movement disorder caused by brain damage)
What are the Signs of Speech Delay?
The signs of early speech delay are categorized into age-related milestones, beginning at the age of 12 months and continuing through early adolescence.
It may be the case that they have speech and/or language delay, if your child:
- by 12 months: isn’t using gestures, such as pointing or waving bye-bye
- by 18 months: prefers gestures over vocalizations to communicate
- by 18 months: has trouble imitating sounds
- has trouble understanding simple verbal requests
- by 2 years: can only imitate speech or actions and doesn’t produce words or phrases spontaneously
- by 2 years: says only certain sounds or words repeatedly and can’t use oral language to communicate more than their immediate needs
- by 2 years: can’t follow simple directions
- by 2 years: has an unusual tone of voice (such as raspy or nasal sounding)
Moreover if your child is more difficult to understand than expected for their age:
- Parents and regular caregivers should understand about half of a child’s speech at 2 years and about three quarters at 3 years.
- By 4 years old, a child should be mostly understood, even by people who don’t know the child.
You can find out if your child is on par with their age group through the screener on Otsimo Speech Therapy. Try it out and you will get a personalized report with actionable advice.
Can Otsimo Speech Therapy Help Children With Speech Delay?
Speech and language therapists often spend their days mooing, quacking and baa-ing. Children simply love animal sounds and yes, it can be fun to get children smiling by making silly sounds that don’t normally come out of adult mouths. This is by itself motivating.
But the true secret behind animal sounds is this: Most animal sounds are easy for kids to make. Combine that with the fact that young children are often fascinated by animals and you’ve got an easy way into helping children produce some of their first “words.”
Vowels, p, m, h, n, w, b, t, d and syllable shapes tend to come first in speech development (CV = consonant-vowel). Combine the two and you get…animal sounds! Moo. Baa. Neigh. Meow. All easy, fun and powerful ways to help a young non-verbal child start talking.
Early Sounds is a category in Otsimo Speech Therapy designed to trigger first sounds and encourage very young or delayed children.