All children develop at a different pace, so some will start talking earlier than others. If your child seems a bit behind the curve, you don’t need to be too concerned just yet. However, if their peers are already speaking in full sentences and they are unable to form simple words, there may be a problem.
In some cases, delayed speech development is caused by environmental factors. If a child is not getting enough stimulation and parents are not talking to them regularly enough, this can slow things down. Engaging your child from a young age as much as possible is crucial for their overall development and their speech. However, delayed speech can also be caused by medical problems. It is important that parents are able to recognize some of the signs and get their child checked over by a doctor if they are concerned that there may be an underlying medical cause of their speech problems. These are some of the common medical causes of speech delay in young children.
Oral impairments and issues with how the mouth and tongue are growing can lead to difficulties with speaking. When children are unable to form the correct shapes when trying to talk, their speech is likely to be delayed. In some cases, the connecting tissue on the bottom of the tongue extends too far, making it hard for the child to move their tongue properly. Problems with the shape of the palate are quite common too. If you think this may be a problem for your child, take them to a pediatric ent (ear, nose, and throat doctor) to get them checked over. Usually, simple procedures can deal with oral impairments and your child’s speech will start to develop normally once the problem is rectified.
When children are experiencing hearing problems, they are unable to take in information from their surroundings and learn how to form words. Often, parents focus on their slow speech development without realizing that the underlying cause is their hearing issues. So, if you think that your child is struggling with their speech, take them for a hearing test. It may be that they have an infection or a blockage, which can be dealt with easily. However, they may have more extensive problems that need to be managed with a hearing aid.
Mental Health Issues
Mental health problems in children are on the rise. There are more children than ever suffering from anxiety and it is affecting them from an increasingly young age. Many people don’t realize that anxiety can have an impact on your speech and in young children, it may slow their speech development down, especially when they are in situations that make them feel particularly anxious. Helping your child manage their mental health is always important because it can prevent serious problems as they get older. In some cases, you may find that it helps with their speech development too.
If your child is not developing their language skills properly, consider whether one of these medical conditions could be the underlying cause.