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Language Development Delay in Special Education

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Language Development

       Hearing their child say their first words is one of the most exciting moments for parents. Parents’ excitement turns to worry when a kid experiences a language delay that prevents them from saying their first words. According to established developmental milestones, most kids start to speak and understand words between the ages of 2 and 5. Some kids fall behind their peers in speech and language development but eventually catch up. On the other hand, parents should have a test if kids continue to show a noticeable difference in language development from their peers. With a speech therapist, a child’s pediatrician can help make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan, which frequently includes speech therapy and other interventions.

Areas of Language Development

           It is crucial first to recognize the difference between speech and language. Speech is the way that language is physically articulated and expressed. Language is more complete because it encompasses appropriately receiving and understanding verbal communication and expressing it. The three primary areas of speech and language development are as follows:

1. Receptive: the capacity for speech and linguistic nuance to be heard and understood

2. Expressive: the capacity to use language appropriately and to speak and enunciate clearly and correctly.

3. Pragmatic: the capacity for social context-based discrimination and appropriate language use; includes comprehension and application of appropriate emotion, tone, reasoning, and facial/body gestures.

           One or more of these areas may show language development delays in children. Additionally, some kids, especially those with autism, may have dyspraxia or apraxia. Speaking is impossible for those with apraxia; speaking is only partially possible for people with dyspraxia.

Developmental Delays

           Language is often learned rather than expressly taught. When the child is exposed to language and regular social interaction from birth, it should happen spontaneously and follow a predictable developmental pattern. The intricate combination of genetic and environmental factors can influence language development.

           Language comprises many building elements, such as morphology, semantics, combining of words to produce coherent sentences, prosody, lexicon, and pragmatics. Language delays might be major or minor. If a child has another issue, such as autism, hearing loss, or a general developmental delay, which has affected their language skills, it is secondary. No additional issue will be noted when a linguistic delay is the main issue.

           A child’s speech and language development are critical between birth and age five. A child should reach particular developmental milestones if their growth is average. Between the ages of two and three, a child’s vocabulary increases to around 500 words and a few-word sentences (Choo et al., 2019). Between 3 and 5, a child’s vocabulary triples to approximately 1,500 words and sentence constructions using many words. A child typically develops and retains a vocabulary of over 2,000 words during the following three-year period, from 5 to 8 years, and the ability to speak with peers and adults and utilize complicated sentences.

           A kid may have an actual developmental language delay if they fail to reach all of their developmental milestones within a reasonable time and do not only seem to be “late bloomers” compared to their peers. There is a language delay when a child’s language development lags behind expected developmental milestones. It has been determined that this impacts five to ten percent of preschoolers. For instance, by roughly 18 months, a toddler should be able to use some names of people and things and have a vocabulary of between 5 and 20 words. If at age 18, a child is still not saying any words and is not recognizing some persons by name, they may have a language delay.

.           Receptive language and second delay are particular risk factors for language delay that lasts until school admission and negatively affect literacy, behavior, social development, and mental health throughout adulthood (Tansley & Gulliford,2018). However, there is debate over the validity of secondary prevention, which involves early detection of language delays and early management before the professional examination.

           First, it could be challenging to identify language development impairments at an early age. For instance, it is reasonable to expect that for a year, 50–60% of untreated 2-year-olds with a significant expressive language delay will catch up to their peers who are usually developing. Second, relatively few notable studies have reported, despite systematic reviews showing that interventions can temporarily improve language delay in beginning preschoolers when equated to coarse controls, particularly for problems with phonology and auditory comprehension problems.

           A child’s hearing should be checked immediately if a parent or other adult suspects a language delay. Even though hearing loss is frequently disregarded, most kids with language delays have normal hearing. A speech-language pathologist should be consulted to assess the child and start treating her immediately. Even before they can talk, children can start receiving treatment.

Types of language development delay

           For the sake of simplicity, we will group the causes of children’s delayed language development into three groups.


           Hearing loss is one of the most typical reasons for language delay in children. Even a minor hearing impairment can delay a child’s capacity to develop a grasp of language because the majority of early human communication is verbal. A kid should start speech and language treatment as soon as potential hearing issues are identified. A kid often begins to babble, imitating speech at six months, and responds to certain noises. Parents should have their child’s hearing tested if they do not notice this happening.


           Due to their surroundings, which discourage the constructive use of language, many children experience delays in their language development. Young children pick up many of their language skills from those around them. Thus they will grow slowly if they live in a setting where language is not used frequently (Gargiulo & Bouck, 2019). Psychosocial deprivation is the fancy word for this situation. In other words, kids need to talk to adults frequently to get enough exposure to language to improve their skills. For instance, children who interact with adults while watching television are more than eight times less likely to experience a language delay than children who watch television alone. Baby Einstein videos cannot replace genuine social connections.


           Many neurological conditions will prevent language development. The most typical issue is a developmental speech and language disorder, a blanket term for several neurological conditions relating to language processing. Children with this disease will have trouble making speaking sounds, interpreting other people’s speech, and communicating using language. Apraxia of speech is a condition where the brain cannot control the muscles to create words. Even while the youngster may understand English, he or she will be unable to express it without additional communication tools.

           Language impairment in children with autism is another early sign of the disorder. Language delay is sometimes one of the initial indicators in autistic children because they develop thinking and language skills in distinct ways. Cerebral palsy, severe brain damage, and muscular dystrophy are a few additional neurological conditions that impair language development.

Signs of language development delays

           Different children acquire language at various rates. In order to determine whether your child has a language delay, you should not compare them to other kids their age. Therefore, if you notice any of the following in your child at any age, it is essential to consult a specialist.

         At six months, your kid is not endeavoring to make eye contact. When you call their name, they look at you; when you talk about an object, they look at it. By the age of one year, your child is attempting to communicate with you using turn-taking games. Eighteen months later, your kid is not responding to routine requests and commands combining two words (Hirai et al., 2018). By the age of two, the child can combine two or more words to create new terms on their own; that is, your child never replicates the words or phrases of others; names at least one color; and answers common questions and commands.

         Children who have developmental language problems at this age could struggle to learn new words and carry on a conversation use short, simple sentences and frequently omitting important words in them, responding to only a portion of the instruction, struggling to use the correct verb tenses past, present, or future people will likely struggle to express themselves clearly and will instead resort to using vague generalizations.


           Keep in mind that every child is unique and grows at a different rate. The youngster could develop later than other kids but finally, catch up with them. However, if parents are worried about their child’s language delay, they should speak with the child’s pediatrician and a speech-language pathologist to get an assessment and a treatment plan. Numerous schools also perform assessments and screenings, which could offer a preliminary diagnosis of a problem.


Choo, Y. Y., Agarwal, P., How, C. H., & Yeleswarapu, S. P. (2019). Developmental delay: identification and management at primary care level. Singapore medical journal60(3), 119.

Gargiulo, R. M., & Bouck, E. C. (2019). Special education in contemporary society: An introduction to exceptionality. Sage Publications.

Hirai, A. H., Kogan, M. D., Kandasamy, V., Reuland, C., & Bethell, C. (2018). Prevalence and variation of developmental screening and surveillance in early childhood. JAMA pediatrics172(9), 857-866.

Tansley, A. E., & Gulliford, R. (2018). The education of slow-learning children. Routledge.

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