Is your child a late talker? Have relatives assured you that it might be normal since he or she is from a bi-lingual family or maybe a third or fourth child? Did the pediatrician confirm that the speech milestones were being met, but you still are not 100% sure?
Speech delays are much more common than many parents think and go way beyond stutters, lisps, and other more commonly known speech disabilities. Speech and language development are related and typically affect reading and spelling as toddlers transition into pre-school and eventually elementary school. Some parents have informed me that the signs were there as early as age two. Children were truncating their words or having problems expressing themselves or using incorrect tenses when forming sentences.
Some of these signs do not always signify a speech delay, but they can. Conditions such as auditory processing disorder, oral written language disorder and other disabilities are all related to hearing, articulation, speech and language development. However, many parents may have never heard of these disabilities.
Speech and language development are much more complex than most people think. In addition, delays in speech and language can eventually affect reading, writing and other necessary skills needed for school. The good news is that with early intervention, children and parents can see results and begin to thrive in school. The challenge, however, is to spread awareness to parents and family members that early speech delays can indicate something more profound, and a simple screening as early as the age of two can not only be free but also lead to much needed early intervention to prevent further problems down the road.