Speech and Language Delays: Common Misconceptions - Topic Overview
Significant speech and language delays are directly related to
developmental or health issues. But some people blame speech and language
delays on factors that are not the cause of true delays, such as:
Mild and temporary speech delays can occur. And some children learn new words
faster than others do. But if your child is not saying words by 18 months, or
can say fewer than 50 words by 24 months, talk to your doctor. Don't assume
that delays are the result of normal developmental differences.
Laziness. Young children instinctively
practice speech and language as these skills emerge. While they do not hold
back out of laziness, they may do so because of intimidation, stress, fear, or
Having older siblings.
Younger children may begin to talk slightly later than their older brothers or
sisters did. However, having one or more older siblings does not cause
significant speech and language delays.
Being a boy. Girls usually are ahead of boys in language development after the
first year, but there is only a slight difference. Significant delays are not
caused by gender.
raised in bilingual homes may have a slight delay in beginning to speak. They
also may mix both languages until they are about 3 to 4 years old, after which
they usually speak them both well. Children who grow up in bilingual homes do
not have more difficulty in learning to talk, read, and write than those who
are learning one language. In fact, learning two or more languages at a young
age may boost a child's overall ability to learn.