Language Delay

Mariana Lombardo, (speech therapist at SINEWS Multilingual Therapy Institute)

Facts and myths about language delay. By Sinews MT
The school year begins, a new stage full of adventures and extraordinary lessons for the little ones at home. Nevertheless, there are children who seem as if they “don’t progress at the same pace as the class.” In addition, they speak very little, don’t tell you what they did at school, and are hard to understand.
Under this situation, many parents worry, other parents think, “they’ll grow out of it” or “they are stronger in other areas.” Both could be right, but it is not recommended to ignore something that calls your attention. Especially because spoken language, at some levels, is directly related with learning and early reading and writing skills. Keeping in mind that the child is just beginning their academic career, what better way to start than on the right foot!
In order to decide if you should make an appointment with a professional, it´s good to become familiar few signs that could warn us of a possible “language delay.”
As the name indicates, it has to deal with a delay in language development that mostly affects expression. Children who seem to have a language delay were typically late talkers. Once they begin to speak, their linguistic development is much slower than most children their age (other areas of development may not be affected).

language delay: A few warning signs that we should watch out for

First words start around two years of age.
When it seems as if they don’t have vocabulary and are only able to name or speak about things that they are very familiar with.
When they play, alone or with others, they use very little language.
They are over two years old and they just started to put two words together or continue to use gestures instead of words.
They are 3 years old and still cannot tell short stories or say simple phrases. They use language almost exclusively to name or attain objects.
At 4 years of age, people outside of their immediate environment cannot understand what they are trying to say. They make a lot pronunciation errors and cannot connect events in a story.
At 5 years of age, they are expected to tell a story or explain one that they have just heard. But children with a language delay are not able to do it in a logical or coherent manner.
At school, it’s hard for them to learn concepts such as shapes and colors; they are not able to order a sequence of drawings.
Sometimes, these warning signs are not so evident and as parents, we tend to let them slide by. But preschool teachers, using the experience that they have, tend to alert parents if they observe something that doesn’t correspond with the child’s age.
If the teacher makes an observation that is of concern about our child, far from feeling left with a bad taste in our mouth, we should be thankful for their interest so that he/she can progress and seek the help of a professional. It is not always necessarily a problem- many times all the child needs is a little bit of stimulation. In any case, it is always good for a professional to guide us as to how to do it correctly.
The sooner we understand the difficulties our child has, the faster and better we can work to help them. In the case of a language delay, we can also prevent another type of disorder such as a learning delay when it comes to writing, self esteem issues, and loss of motivation when doing homework.
When experiencing poor academic performance in school or when study efforts don’t produce expected results, a good option is to consider getting the help of a support teacher.

Sinews MTI offers support teachers both at home and in the classroom. Our specialists help students overcome learning difficulties in the language that they are learning in Sinews
MTI SINEWS in Madrid, C/ Zurbano 34 1º izquierda, Tel 91 700 19 79

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