Speech and language problems

Speech problems occur when children have difficulty producing speech sounds correctly or fluently, and are sometimes diagnosed as speech disorders. Types of speech disorders include: articulation disorder; phonological disorder; dyspraxia; and stuttering.  Difficulties pronouncing sounds, getting the sounds to come out correctly, or having trouble speaking smoothly are all examples of speech disorders.

Language problems occur when someone has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or has trouble sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely using words (expressive language).

Speech and language problems may occur as a result of a medical problem or have no known cause.

Signs of early language and speech disorders include:

  • Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words most of the time (1–2 years)
  • Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words most of the time (2–3 years)
  • Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2–3 years)
  • Doesn't smile or interact with others (birth–3 months)
  • Doesn't babble (4–7 months)
  • Makes few sounds (7–12 months)
  • Does not use gestures (e.g., waving, pointing) (7–12 months)
  • Doesn't understand what others say (7 months–2 years)
  • Says only a few words (12–18 months)
  • Doesn't put words together to make sentences (1½–2 years)
  • Says fewer than 50 words (2 years)
  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2–3 years)
  • Has problems with early reading and writing skills—for example, may not show an interest in books or drawing (2½–3 years)
  • Struggles to say sounds or words (2½–3 years)
  • Repeats first sounds of words—"b-b-b-ball" for "ball" (2½–3 years)
  • Pauses a lot while talking (2½–3 years)
  • Stretches sounds out—"f-f-f-f-farm" for "farm" (2½–3 years)

If you are concerned the best place to start is a communication assessment with a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). SLPs can help identify speech and language problems, and provide therapy to help improve and resolve these difficulties early.

The following practitioners at CPMG can be of service in helping assess and manage speech and language problems in children and adolescents: