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Child Development Topics..

You are here : home > Child Development > Speech, Language, Hearing and Vision > Speech Delay in Children

Speech Delay in Children

Speech delay is a communication disorder affecting children in the age group of 3-16 yrs. Speech delay is manifested by improper or incoherent conversation. There are many causes of speech delay which if identified early can prevent further communication problems. Speech delay is as a result of improper communication with the child. Let us learn about causative factors of speech delay. 

Children aged between three to sixteen years are often found to suffer from speech delay. It affects around 3-10% of the children in this age group and it is interesting to note that the boys are more affected compared to girls. Speech delay is considered to be a communication disorder where proper conversation gets hindered.

The fact that a child is suffering from speech delay can be ascertained when you compare his style of speech with other children of his age group. Here it is important that the parents get this clear – there is no particular age wherein speech would develop completely. Speech development is a continuous process and each child has its own pace of progression.

Signs of Speech Delay

  • The child finds it difficult to follow directions

  • He talks in a slow and incomprehensible manner even after three years
  • He does not complete his sentences and the words are not in a correct order in his sentences

  • He finds articulation very complex and is prone to omit or distort certain sounds 

Causes of Speech Delay

There can be a wide array of factors responsible for speech delay in children. It has been often observed that children at this age feel attracted to a whole lot of things as they are discovering something every other day. They get busy learning a lot of other skills and parents too fail to take notice that in the process, the child is not getting enough opportunity to hone his speech skills.

Abusive Parents

Children can suffer from speech delay if their parents happen to be abusive. This is another cause of emotional stress as there is a lack of communication and without persistent and engaging conversation; the child is not likely to learn much about proper conversation.

Psychological Distance

Psychological deprivation is another cause which is closely related to the above point. This is often found to be the case with children whose both the parents are working. In these cases, the child does not get enough time to spend with the people they are most close to and due to this lack of time spent in inter communication, the child develops his speech skills pretty late. It can also be the case that the child is suffering from a trauma or is emotionally distressed due to some reason. 

Twin Factor

Even twins can suffer from speech delay. This is mostly found to affect one of the twins. The reason is that the parents tend to be more focused on one twin due to some reason and the other twin does not get the desired attention. This emotional distance and lack of attention might lead to speech delay.

Mental Retardation

There can be other causes like mental retardation that impairs the development of speech in a child. This is completely a psychological problem and must be treated likewise before simply starting off with speech therapy. You need to ascertain whether the child is autistic, which is a developmental disorder. You then need to go for specialized treatment as suggested by the doctor.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss from birth or due to any other cause can logically lead to speech delay. If the child is unable to hear people speaking around him, he will naturally find it difficult to communicate himself.


Speech delay is also attributed to effective mutism. This means that the child simply doesn’t want to talk when spoken to. He chooses his own time to speak that is, only with certain people or under certain conditions. This is also a psychological factor and the child should be encouraged in a very friendly manner to engage in conversations.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is another reason causing speech delay. It is a movement disorder occurring due to brain injury or damage. A completely separate course of treatment is suggested for the child. 

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Mayers Bank.5 years ago
I like this website very much. It has information on all child and parenting related topics. It really solves many of my problems.
Steve.5 years ago
well written comprehensive article. Everything related to speech delay is given in simple easy to understand language.
Rapper.5 years ago
Many factors of speech delay as highlighted here can be prevented so for the sake of the kid, it is better to prevent the causative factors. speech disorder is really very traumatizing for the kid.
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