Language Delay

What is the difference between Speech and Language?

  • Speech is the verbal expression of language and includes articulation (the way we form sounds and words for instance).
  • Language on the other hand, is giving and getting information. It's understanding and being understood through communication — this includes verbal, nonverbal, and written.

What Are Speech or Language Delays in Children?

Speech and language problems usually differ, but may often overlap. For example:

  • A child with a language delay might say words well but only be able to put two words together when trying to communicate.
  • A child with a speech delay on the other hand, might use words and phrases to express ideas but will be hard for someone else to understand.

One of the most common types of developmental delays, is the delay in a child’s language. Simple speech delays are at times temporary. They can resolve on their own or with a little extra help from the family. It's extremely important to inspire your child to talk to you with signs or sounds and for you to spend lots of time playing with them, reading to them, and talking in general.

Below is a general guideline to a child’s development milestones in language and speech depending on their age. Keep in mind that the below is only a guideline. However, if your child is not meeting a number of these milestones, Dynamics Speech has the expertise to evaluate your child and provide assistance to improve their speech and language.

Age Language Speech Social and Play Eating and Drinking

3-6 months

Turns head towards voice. Babbling

Makes cooing sounds.

Attempts to interact with an adult.

Breast or bottle feeding, they should be putting their hands on the bottle during feeding.

6-9 months

Waves "bye bye". Imitates syllables.

Babbles with sounds like "puh", "mi" etc.

Vocalises to get attention.

Finger feeding solids and they will help caregiver with spoon.

9-12 months Gives objects on request.
Uses 1-2 words.
Babbles longer sounds like "mimi" "baba" etc. Joint attention starts developing. Drinks from a cup held by the caregiver, eats a variety of foods and deliberately reaches for the spoon.
12-18 months Understands 50 words.
Uses 15 meaningful words.
Speech should be 25% intelligible. Points, shows or gives objects. Holds a spoon and a cup with both hands for self-feeding, stops using baby bottle.
18-24 months Understands new words rapidly.
Uses 50 words.
Says p, b, m, n, w sounds in words.
Speech should be 50% intelligible.
Joint attention is well established. Drinks using a straw, able to self-feed and eat a variety of textured foods.
2-3 years Understands 2-3 step instructions.
Uses 2-3 word sentences.
Says k, g, t, d, h sounds in words.
Speech should be 75% intelligible.
Parallel play with other children. Holds a cup with 1 hand without spilling and uses a fork, eats a variety of solid foods and is not a fussy eater.
3-4 years Responds to "wh" questions.
Tells you what they have been doing.
Can produce all sounds except sh, ch, j, th, r.
Speech should be 90-100% intelligible.
Uses a doll as a play mate. Self feeds a variety of foods and drinks and is able to use a knife and fork.
4-5 years Follows 4-5 step instructions.
Vocabulary of 1500 words.
Uses a variety of grammatical structures.
Can produce all sounds except th, sh, r. Engages in role-play and co-operative play. Self feeds a variety of foods and drinks.
5-7 years Identifies and describes element of a story.
Compares and contrasts old and new information.
Can produce all sounds except th, r. Understands jokes. Self feeds a variety of foods and drinks.