Tag Archive for: speech delay

Red Flags for a Speech or Language Delay

It may be difficult to know whether or not your child is showing signs of a speech or language delay. Below are some key red flags to watch for: blog-speech-red-flags-main-landscape

By Age 1, your child cannot:

• Respond to his/her name
• Begin verbalizing first words
• Initiate or maintain eye contact

By Age 2, your child cannot:

• Begin combining two-word phrases (24 months)
• Child does not consistently add new words to expressive vocabulary
• Child does not follow simple instructions
• Child presents with limited play skills

By Age 3-5, your child cannot:

• Verbalize utterances without repeating parts of words or prolonging sounds (e.g. “m-m-m-my mother,” “ssssssister”)
• Seem to find the right words, describe an item or event without difficulty
• Begin combining four to five-word sentences
• Be understood by both familiar and unfamiliar listeners
• Repeat themselves to clarify without frustration
• Correctly produce vowels & majority of speech sounds (closer to 5 years old). Speech should be 90% intelligible to unfamiliar listeners by 5 years of age.
• Ask or answer simple questions
• Use rote phrases and sentences
• Play with peers and prefers to play alone

How Can a Speech or Language Delay Affect My Child?

Speech and language disorders can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to independently function in his/her environment. Without intervention, poor speech and language skills can lead to inability to communicate wants and needs across environments, social isolation and an inability to sustain an independent lifestyle.

How Can I Help Treat My Child’s Speech or Language Delay?

General treatment includes speech and language therapy from a speech-language pathologist, in order to evaluate and treat the specific aspects of the speech or language delay. Individual and/or group therapy may be recommended in order to treat all areas of the delay.

Our Speech and Language Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy

Our speech-language pathologists are trained in all areas of speech and language development. With extensive knowledge in typical speech and language, our pathologists can effectively identify and remediate speech and language disorders, using multi-sensory modalities.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!


Will Learning Another Language Delay My Child’s Speech?

Guest Blog Submitted by our friends at Language Stars

Language Stars

It’s a common myth in the US that introducing an additional language to your child will cause them to develop speech delays or maybe even have academic difficulties.  We often forget that bilingualism is the norm in much of the world with over 66% percent of children growing up bilingual.  While many parents believe multilingual children will start speaking later than monolingual peers, extensive research has shown that children still start speaking within the normal milestones.  As Colin Baker, a prominent researcher in childhood bilingualism, noted in his book The Care and Education of Young Bilinguals:

“Raising children bilingually is sometimes believed to cause language delay, though evidence does not support this position. Raising children bilingually neither increases nor reduces the chance of language disorder or delay.”

In addition, once they do start speaking, they’ll start speaking in two languages – an amazing gift to your child!

Of course, you still want to check with a professional if you have any concerns.  Usually your pediatrician will know a good speech pathologist as the younger you catch something, the more easily you can address it.  However, you can rest assured that speaking or introducing another language to your child will not cause or exacerbate any issues.

Learning another language is even beneficial for many children that actually do have a diagnosed learning disorder.  Unless your child has a language processing disorder where there is an issue with the way the brain is receiving or producing language, language learning will actually help your child in life by giving them an additional skill to help overcome other obstacles.  The flexibility and advanced cognitive benefits created by learning another language may actually help your child deal with other learning issues.  As always, talk to your childcare professional about what the best approach is for your child.  North Shore Pediatrics has many specialists that can help you diagnose and treat a wide range of developmental issues with your child.

Language Stars teaches Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, French, and German to children 1-10 in a fun and immersive environment.  To find out more information or register for programs call 866-55-STARS.

You can also follow them on social media where they love sharing language learning tips, tools, and resources for children and families on FacebookPinterestGoogle+, and Twitter!

Speech Delays and Talkative Older Siblings

Older sibling with younger siblingA parent recently asked me what to do when her child’s older sibling constantly answers for him.  While it’s caring that the older sibling wants to help his little brother, it’s also very important for each child to have his own space to learn and develop, try new things, and make mistakes.  So how can parents help?

What to do when an older sibling compensates for a child with speech and language difficulties:

  • Talk to the older sibling alone. Instead of being reactive, be proactive by talking to your older child about his younger sibling’s needs.  Teach him that it takes time to learn how to talk, and he can help his younger sibling talk by giving him space to try on his own.
  • Use positive language. Instead of telling older siblings what they can’t do, tell them what they can do.  For example, “You can help Jonny talk by being a good listener,” or, “You can be a helpful big brother by letting other people have a turn to talk.”
  • Teach older siblings alternative ways to be a helper. Praise your older child for wanting to help his younger sibling, and then offer him other ways to help. For example, he can help his younger sibling by being a good listener, by giving him time to finish his ideas, and by saying encouraging things (such as, “good job!” or, “thanks for sharing your idea!”).
  • Emphasize “talking turns” between family members.  It’s important for all children to learn conversation rules early on, which includes learning about listening, interruptions, and waiting for a turn to talk.  This can certainly be hard for young kids.  To help, emphasize “talking-turns.”  (“It’s Jonny’s turn to talk. Next will be your turn to talk.”)  You might even use a tangible object, such as a toy microphone, ball, or teddy bear, to pass back and forth when it’s each person’s turn.
  • Play games as a family that promote turn-taking.  You might take turns with a toy by passing it back and forth, play catch with a ball, or play a board game that involves turn-taking, such as Barn Yard Bingo, Candy Land, or Zingo.
  • Encourage active listening. Teach family members what it means to be a good listener. Use concrete examples such as, “You can listen by looking at the person who is talking,” or, “When you are listening, your mouth is quiet.”
  • Set aside one-on-one time for each sibling to play with a parent alone. Language development is enhanced through modeling, practice, and play with caregivers.  To make sure your child is receiving language-rich opportunities, set aside 15-20 minutes each day to play one-on-one with your child.
  • Praise the things that are going well. When you notice positive behavior, reinforce your child right away using very specific language.  For example, “Wow! You let Jonny have a turn to talk. You are a very good big brother when you let other people have a turn to talk.”

By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can help your children develop healthier communication habits.  Older siblings have a special role as a “big brother” or “big sister.”  By teaching them about their special role, you can encourage your kids to feel more positive about helping their younger siblings. For more ideas about how to incorporate siblings into your child’s speech and language development, visit the blog, Encouraging Siblings to Help With Speech & Language Practice.

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How to Maximize a Playdate for a Child with Speech Delays | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s webisode, a pediatric speech pathologist explains ways to help a child with speech delays play well with others. She provides useful strategies to encourage communications and respect between the children. For speech game ideas read our blog “5 Board Games That Promote Speech-Language Skills

  • The right timing for a playdate
  • How to introduce a speech delayed child to a regular child
  • What signs to look out for as the playdate progresses

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now, your host, here’s

Robyn: Hello, and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman, and I’m standing here today with Megan Grant, a Pediatric Speech
and Language Pathologist. Megan, can you give our viewers some tips on how
to maximize a play date with a child with delayed speech?

Megan: Sure. A play date for a child with delayed speech and language
skills isn’t going to look that much different than that of a play date for
a child with typically developing skills. However, there are some key
things to keep in mind. Make sure that you time it right. Make sure that
the play date is scheduled after naptime and after mealtime, so that the
kids are well rested, their bellies are fully and they are ready to play
and interact with each other.

Also you want to make sure to keep it brief. Sometimes, 45 minutes to an
hour is only what the kids will tolerate in the beginning, so don’t worry
that the play date should be three or four hours at a time. You definitely
need to make sure that you keep it short, especially in the beginning. Kids
will work up that way. Also, introduce a friend who’s familiar to your
child. That’s definitely going to be a key as well. Someone who is from
music class or from school is going to be more accustomed to interacting
with your child, and your child is likely going to be able to interact with
them much better than if you introduce someone who is entirely new to them.

When you do have a child who has delayed speech and language, you can pre-
teach the other child and say, “You know, Billy’s still learning how to
talk.” And let them know that that’s OK. Sometimes, kids are very
receptive and they pick up very easily on the nuances of other children, so
that’s definitely going to help as well. Keep in mind that you are going to
have to provide models, more so than with kids who are typically
developing. Kids who have delayed speech and language aren’t necessarily
going to initiate and maintain play as easily, so you’re going to have to
jump in there and let them resolve some conflicts, but definitely give them
the support that they’re going to need. And just have fun. Watch for signs
of frustration. If your child starts to break down, you definitely want to
jump in there and you can feel free to end the play date sooner than later.

Robyn: All right. Well, thank you so much, Megan, and thank you to our
viewers. And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind
to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to
our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at
learnmore.me. That’s learnmore.me.

Promoting Language in a Toddler with an Expressive Language Delay

My toddler was referred for speech/language therapy to address his expressive (what he says) language delay. What is the therapist going to do? How can I help? Below are common strategies used in therapy and at home to encourage “late-talkers” to start using verbal language.

Speech Strategies For Late Talkers:


The most important concept to remember when modeling language, is to model AT THE LEVEL EXPECTED of the child. We boy with megaphonedo not expect toddlers with an expressive language delay to speak in phrases or sentences. So, we must model the level of language we want them to use. Speak in one-word utterances. For example, rather than reading each word in a book, label items and actions one word at a time.


Pick a specified time each day to model language during play time with your child. Choose around ten words to focus on, so your child is exposed to a consistent vocabulary. These words should be paired with objects (e.g. ball, pig, nose), motions (e.g. up, hop), and requests (e.g. more).


Parents often encourage their toddlers to imitate their speech (e.g. say, “dada”). It may be just as important to imitate your child. Even if your child is babbling (e.g. “baba”, “badaba”) and not yet using true words, try imitating his babbles, inflection, and facial expressions. This will, in-turn, help him understand imitation, learn turn-taking, and promote joint-attention.


Teaching a child the power of communication often facilitates expressive language. In order to encourage children to use any form of communication, they need to have an experience that demonstrates this “power”. Therapists often begin by using sign language. For example, the parent blows bubbles. When the child wants more bubbles, he imitates (or independently uses) the sign for “more” and receives more bubbles. This teaches the child that using communication (sign or verbal) will accomplish a goal with much more ease than crying, pointing, or grunting! Hence, the power of communication!

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