Speech Delay

Speech Delay

Speech delay is also known as Alaila, which refers to a deferring in the advancement or use of the instruments that produce speech. Speech – unmistakably unique from language – is the actual method of sound production. The mechanism makes use of such organs and structures as the lungs, vocal cords, mouth, tongue, teeth, etc. Language delay, on the other hand, indicates a delay in the development or the inability to adopt knowledge of the language.

Owing to the fact that language and speech are two separate stages, their developmental delays cannot be interlinked, contrary to popular belief.

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Speech Delay

Autism and speech delay are, most of the time, associated with one another. The dilemma with verbal language is among the most common signs of autism due to the fact that a child on the spectrum, in general, experiences considerable speech complications. However, speech delay may also be related to and/or be a cause of other health issues. Initial determination and treatment of autism, and any similar condition, can aid a child in showing significant improvement in their speaking skills.

According to medical professionals and specialists, studies on the speech and language developmental milestones have evaluated that a baby of 12 months should be able to say words such as “mama”. Between that and their first birthday, the child typically should have the bare minimum vocabulary of about 10 words.

The initial red flag of speech delay is when a baby has not started to babble or baby talk around the 12-month period. Instead of speaking, the baby may be nonverbal and opt instead for gestures without showing any signs of progressing to an age-appropriate glossary.

It is important to add a small reminder here for parents and caregivers not to worry too much- some children do not have speech delay, but rather are simply late bloomers. They will go on to adopt age-fitting vocabulary and speaking skills. In such cases, it’s alright to assume that your child may not necessarily have any hidden medical condition.

Speech Delay as a Symptom of Autism

When autism is the cause of speech delay, the young child can have considerable developmental delays and deterioration affiliated with communication, and social communication and/or interaction. The most significant distinction between speech delays caused by autism versus another medical reason is the presence of other autism characteristics. A medical professional can screen for ASD, as well as analyze and resolve the true cause of a speech delay.

Speech-Related Signs of Autism

Speech delay is not the only matter of concern where autism is concerned. To offer an overview, children with ASD may have a higher probability to:

  • Fail or progress slower while responding to their name or any other verbal attempts to garner your attention.
  • Slow to develop gestures, such as pointing and showing things to others.
  • They may begin to coo and babble in the first year of life, but then gradually stop doing so.
  • They may speak only in single words or repeat certain phrases multiple times in a single sitting.
  • There’s a chance of them being seemingly unable to combine words into meaningful sentences.
  • The child may use uncommon words, out of place, or have a special meaning known only to those familiar with the child’s way of communicating.

Medical Conditions with Speech Delay

Speech delay does not always relate to ASD. The language problem can also bring other health conditions to light, such as:

  • Hearing impairment: The inability to hear may lead to speech delay because babies begin an early attempt at speaking through sound imitation. Hearing loss can also occur from chronic ear infections.
  • Oral impairment: An odd oral arrangement, such as a short frenulum on the tongue, can restrict the free flow of the tongue for speech.
  • Intellectual disability: One of the most common causes of speech delay.
  • Expressive language disorder: A child with an expressive language disorder has normal development in matters regarding social skills and intellectual ability. The concern centers on their ability to express ideas in speech without interference.

Speech Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Relevant methods of treatment may involve expanding a glossary or adjusting to a nonverbal communication system as substitute. A licensed speech therapist can assist an autistic child in the following manner:

  • Building up vocabulary and reassuring verbal speech.
  • Help to clearly understand a word, its meaning and context.
  • Figure out speech pragmatics.
  • Indulge in a two-way conversation.
  • Help them focus on learning a nonverbal communication methods, like the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS).

Improvement of Speech Skills

We mustn’t give up hope on autistic children as a result of delayed speech. It can be treated with patience and effort.

There are effective treatments for nonverbal communication that guide and allow the child to express themselves. Early intervention is an essential aspect to treating autism and speech delay for a positive outcome.

If you do have concerns (despite getting medical insight), getting your child examined once in a while can be useful as a precautionary measure.

Say, if your child does have a significant speech delay or autistic symptoms, then you’ll be able to start therapy much earlier on. Initial analysis and intervention will help your child learn life skills with more ease than those without.

Parents can also attempt the following strategies:

  • Talking to their child from the time they are born.
  • When the child babbles, it’s advised to always respond to them.
  • One may try and sing to the child.
  • Read aloud to the child.
  • Always answer when the child asks any question.

Some autistic children might catch up with their peers, while a few might find it difficult in overcoming the challenge of speech delays and face problems later on in adolescence. However, there are chances, despite treatment, an autistic child might face reading or behavior problems.

In conclusion, regardless of any fears and worries, we must promote speech therapy treatment if a child is deemed to have a speech delay- to prevent social, emotional and learning problems during their developing years.