5 Signs of a Speech or Language Delay

5 Signs of a Speech or Language Delay

Posted on November 8th, 2023.

Speech and language development in children is an exciting journey, but sometimes, parents may notice that their little ones are not reaching milestones as expected. As specialists in speech therapy for toddlers and kids, we understand the concerns and questions that can arise when you suspect a speech delay in toddlers.

In this blog post, we'll explore five key signs to look out for and offer guidance on how to tell if your child has a speech problem. Remember, early intervention is essential for addressing speech delays effectively.

5 Signs of a Speech or Language Delay

1. Limited Vocabulary and Difficulty Expressing Themselves

One of the early signs of a speech delay in toddlers is a limited vocabulary. Most children start to say their first words around their first birthday and gradually expand their language skills. However, if your child is not speaking or has only a few words in their vocabulary by the age of two, it could be a cause for concern.

How to Tell if Your Child Has a Speech Problem: Keep an eye on your child's ability to express themselves. If they struggle to communicate their needs or seem frustrated when trying to convey their thoughts, it's a clear indicator that they may benefit from speech therapy for toddlers.

2. Difficulty Pronouncing Words Clearly

Mispronunciations are common as children develop their language skills, but if your child consistently struggles to pronounce sounds, it may indicate a speech delay. For instance, difficulty saying common sounds like 'p,' 'b,' 'm,' and 'h' can be a sign of delayed speech.

How to Tell if Your Child Has a Speech Problem: Listen to your child's speech patterns and note any consistent sound substitutions or omissions. If these issues persist beyond a certain age, it's advisable to consult a speech therapist for an evaluation.

3. Limited Interaction and Engagement with Peers

Healthy social development is closely tied to speech and language skills. Children with speech delays may have trouble engaging with their peers due to difficulties in communication. They might become withdrawn or frustrated when they can't express themselves effectively.

How to Tell if Your Child Has a Speech Problem: Observe your child during playdates or group activities. If they struggle to interact, share, or take turns with other children, it's a sign that their speech or language development may need extra support.

4. Inconsistent or No Response to Questions and Directions

A child with a speech delay may not respond appropriately to questions or follow simple directions. This can be frustrating for both the child and the caregiver, as communication breakdowns become more frequent.

How to Tell if Your Child Has a Speech Problem: Pay attention to how your child responds to your questions and instructions. If they often seem confused or unable to follow through, it's essential to consider speech therapy as a way to improve their communication skills.

5. Family History of Speech or Language Delays

Sometimes, speech or language delays can run in families. If you or other family members experienced speech or language issues as children, your child may be at a higher risk of facing similar challenges.

How to Tell if Your Child Has a Speech Problem: Take your family history into account when monitoring your child's speech development. If there is a known family history of speech or language delays, it's a good idea to be vigilant and seek professional advice if necessary.

Additional Warning Signs

Identifying a speech or language delay in your child is the first step towards helping them overcome these challenges. Here are some additional signs and tips to consider:

  • Lack of Progress: If your child's speech development appears to be stagnant or regressing rather than progressing, it's a clear sign that intervention may be needed.
  • Frustration and Behavioral Issues: Children with speech delays may become frustrated due to their inability to communicate effectively, leading to behavioral problems. Addressing their speech issues can often alleviate these frustrations.
  • Consult a Speech Therapist: If you notice multiple signs of a speech delay or have concerns about your child's speech and language development, don't hesitate to reach out to a speech therapist. They can assess your child's needs and provide tailored guidance and therapy.

At Dempster Therapeutic Services, we are here to support you and your child on their speech and language journey. Our experienced team specializes in speech therapy for toddlers and kids, offering compassionate care and evidence-based interventions to help your child communicate effectively and confidently. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us at 847-999-3990 or via email at [email protected] for a consultation or to learn more about our services.


Recognizing the signs of a speech or language delay in your child is crucial for their overall development and future success. Early intervention through speech therapy for toddlers can make a significant difference in improving their communication skills and enhancing their quality of life. If you suspect that your child may have a speech delay, reach out to Dempster Therapeutic Services for expert guidance and support. Book a Free Discovery Call today! We are here to help your child find their voice and thrive.

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