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Language Delays

Little boy in glasses with first book an

What is a language delay?


A language delay occurs when a child’s language is developing slower than other children of the same age, but it is following the typical pattern of development. For example, a child may be 4 years of age, but understanding and/or using language typical of a child who may be only 2.5 years of age. A child may have a receptive language (understanding of language) delay or an expressive language (use of language) delay.


What are characteristics of a language delay?​​​​

  • Late to talk and first words do not appear by the age of 15-18 months.

  • The child  does not go on to develop new words quickly.

  • By two years of age, the child is saying less than 50 words.

  • The child is not using more than two word combinations.

  • The child has difficulty understanding what is being said to them.

  • The child has has difficulties following instructions.

  • The child’s language sounds immature for their age.

  • Difficulties attending at group time at kindergarten or school.

  • Difficulty answering questions.

  • Difficulty sequencing words together in sentences.

  • Difficulty getting their message across.

  • Uses incorrect grammar (e.g. ‘me want that red one’ instead of ‘I want the red one’).


Why should I seek therapy for my child with a language delay? 

Diagnosis alone is NOT the solution. It simply opens the door to getting the help that is needed by arming all involved with the relevant information. 


If your child has delays in language, it is recommended that you consult a Speech Language Pathology specializing in Early Intervention to receive an evaluation to see if they require therapeutic intervention. 

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