There are between three and six million children in the United States with speech or language disorders. As a methods of teaching children with speech disorders speech-language pathologist specializing in early intervention, I work with children between birth and three years of age. Sometimes we don’t know exactly why a child isn’t talking yet at two or three. A delay means there’s just a problem with the rate of development.
Skills are coming in as expected, but it’s just slower than when other children acquire the milestones. When there’s a disorder, it means that development is somehow atypical. The rate may also be slow, but there abnormalities present that are not seen in children with typically developing skills. Disorders, by their nature, are more serious than delays and always warrant professional intervention. Below is a list of the most common types of speech disorders and diagnoses associated with pediatric speech-language problems with a basic explanation for each. Please remember that this is a listing of specific speech-language diagnoses and not necessarily a medical or educational label. The speech-language diagnosis may be just a part of a condition that affects a child’s overall developmental picture, or it could be the only issue a child faces.
I have often evaluated children whose parents referred them for what they thought was a speech or language delay, when in fact their children were exhibiting delays in other developmental domains as well. This also happens with other disciplines too. When in doubt, get an evaluation. Be sure to ask the professional if there are other developmental concerns as well.
You’d rather know, and the sooner, the better. All of the current research tells us that early intervention gives a child the best chance of minimizing long-term difficulties. Apraxia is a neurological speech disorder that affects a child’s ability to plan, execute, and sequence the movements of the mouth necessary for intelligible speech. Apraxia can also be referred to as developmental verbal apraxia, childhood apraxia of speech, or verbal dyspraxia.
Most SLPs use the terms interchangeably. Few or no words when other babies are talking by age two. Poor ability to imitate sounds and words. Errors with vowel sounds are not common with other speech disorders.