Main > Speech Delays Therapy

Speech Delays Therapy

зпрр признакиAs soon as parents hear about upcoming childbirth, they dream of hugging the baby, putting on funny socks, telling a fairytale, and hearing the first ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. 

The child is born, grows, and develops, but adults do not hear the long-awaited words. Acquaintances ask not to worry because ‘will grow up and talk,’ wise relatives require a medical board to save the child, and online advice is contradictory and confusing. What to do and who is right?

What are speech delays?

Delayed speech development is the term used to describe a child's delayed acquisition of speech relative to the age norm. Children with delayed speech development are delayed in speaking, understanding what is said, and knowingly communicating with others. If a 2-year-old child is supposed to say simple words (‘yes’, ‘want’, ‘no’, etc.), and a 3-year-old child says coherent and meaningful sentences, but this does not happen - cause for alarm. 

Delayed speech development, a diagnosis of the level of speech therapy and neurology, is a set of speech disorders. These include:

  • Delays in the formation of sounds according to age;
  • A poor or absent vocabulary;
  • Lack of coherent speech skills and the construction of grammatically correct phrases and sentences. 

If the correct and timely formation of speech skills in a child is delayed, it leads to violations of social and mental development. Communication difficulties cause a lot of trouble not only for parents, who have difficulty understanding and communicating with the child, but also lead to social isolation because peers do not play with such a child. 

Such a picture in children aged 2-5 leads not only to underdevelopment of communication skills but also to a lack of emotional skills and behavioral self-regulation, development of necessary neural connections. Delay, therefore, negatively affects memory, imagination, and cognitive abilities impair brain interhemispheric interaction, etc. 

Consequently, delayed speech development in children also implies a diagnosis of mental retardation, so the delayed psycho-speech development of children diagnosis or DPSD is more correct.

Statistically, it is common for 10% of children to have speech delays. It is also known that boys suffer more often - 4 times more often than girls.

Types and Degrees of speech delays

There are two types of retardation - spoken and written language disorders of different etiologies. There are two types of spoken retardation - external and internal speech disorders. 

Violations of the external, or phonatory registration of oral speech:

  • Aphonia, dysphonia - a vocal disorder due to abnormalities of the speech apparatus;
  • Bradylalia (pace delay of speech development) - excessively slow speech tempo;
  • Tachylalia - excessively fast tempo;
  • Logoneurosis - disruption of tempo-rhythmics due to spasmodic readiness of the speech apparatus;
  • Dyslalia - disorders in the pronunciation of the sounds, but the hearing and speech apparatus are preserved;  
  • Rhinolalia - disorders of the vocal timbre due to defects of the speech apparatus;
  • Dysarthria - incorrect pronunciation due to poor innervation of the speech apparatus.

Disorders of internal, or structural-semantic design of speech:

  • Alalia - there is no speech at all or there is speech underdevelopment due to lesions of areas of the brain responsible for speech;
  • Aphasia - due to lesions of the brain, speech is lost completely or partially; 
  • Dysgraphia - writing defect;
  • Dyslexia - reading defect.

In the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), speech delays are presented as a separate unit under the ‘Specific developmental disorders of speech and language’ general name (F-80). The group includes:

F80.0 - Specific disorder of speech articulation.

F80.1 - Disorder of expressive speech.

F80.2 - Receptive speech disorder.

F80.3 - Acquired aphasia with epilepsy (Landau-Kleffner).

F80.8 - Other disorders of speech and language development.

F80.9 - Speech disorder without further clarification.

Doctors also distinguish four stages of speech delays (speech therapy classification) - from the first or mild (when the disorders are only visible to a specialist and little noticeable to others, even parents) to severe or fourth stage, in which defects are visible to all or speech is absent (severe delay). 

Causes of delayed speech development in children

Delayed speech development in children occurs for 2 reasons:  

Medical reasons - a complex of pathological processes in the brain, occurring either during the intrauterine development of the fetus or in early childhood. The first includes intrauterine hypoxia, asphyxia, hypotrophy, severe infectious diseases of the mother during pregnancy, prematurity. The group of early-onset illnesses includes systemic infectious diseases of the child, meningoencephalitis, encephalopathies, etc. 

The list of medical causes also includes physiological abnormalities, such as hearing loss, in which speech is formed by imitation rather than the ability to hear the sound. In addition to physical conditions, the specifics of the child's brain also influence Dysfunction. For example, if a child cannot identify the dominant hand (right- or left-handed), speech formation is delayed because of uncertainty about which brain hemisphere is leading. 

Doctors also do not rule out genetic factors and causes of speech delays that can affect speech pathology. For example, if a parent speaks late, the likelihood of a child having late speech increases many times over. 

Social causes - a set of environmental factors that negatively affect the development of speech in a child:

  • pedagogical neglect - adults are not engaged in the child’s development, the baby grows on its own ‘like grass’;
  • lack of communication in the family - a pathological pattern in which intrafamily conversations, if they occur, are formal; 
  • hypercapacity - excessive care for the child, in which the baby does not need to ‘strain’, learn words and speak;
  • moving to another country - if a child is in a foreign environment during active vocabulary building in his/her native language, the chances of speech delays increase;
  • gadgets that offer the child not lively, but mechanical speech in games, stories, cartoons without encouraging repetition;
  • prolonged ‘addiction’ to the mother's breast or pacifier, which leads to an incorrect bite and constant speech apparatus ‘occupation’.

How to Identify Speech Delays 

Today, the number of children with speech delays is higher than in the past decade because of the ‘fashion’ position of not paying any attention to a child's speech until the age of 3. Some parents are convinced that speech doesn't need to be taught - it will somehow work itself out. Such thoughts entail ‘surprise’ when adults ‘suddenly’ discover that a 4-5-year-old child can not speak. How to prevent this?

The norm of speech development in children 1-3 years of age: 

  • 1,5-2 months - the baby hums;
  • 4-5 months - babbling;
  • 7.5-8 months - tries to say babbling words;
  • 9-12 months - first words (9-10 months - girls, 11-12 months - boys);
  • 1-year-old - understanding of addressed speech, pronunciation of elementary words (‘mom’, ‘give’, etc.)
  • At 1 year of age, the baby shows or brings an object that the adult is talking about;
  • 1-1.8 years of age a ‘lexical explosion’ occurs - the child says words that he or she knew before but couldn't pronounce (the passive vocabulary turns into an active vocabulary)
  • At the age of 1.5, the child has a pointing gesture;
  • By the age of 2, the child understands and can execute an adult's command, for example, to bring in a cube or roll a car;
  • By the age of 3, the child can speak phrases and sentences, even if some words are hard to pronounce.

The age range is variable. A ‘deviation’ of a couple of months in girls and 4-5 months in boys is allowed. 

Early signs of delayed speech development:

  • Before 1 year of age, the child is silent or shouts the same type of sounds;
  • An index gesture by 18 months of age is still not formed;
  • Does not respond to addressed words and expressions;
  • Does not repeat what he/she hears after the age of 1.5 years;
  • At 1.5-2 years of age does not show an object named by an adult;
  • Has not said a word before the age of 2-2.5 years;
  • Before the age of 3, has not learned to say simple phrases (‘where is the banana’, ‘let me eat’);
  • At age 3, can repeat a sentence from a cartoon, but does not initiate speech independently;
  • Gestures and facial expressions replace verbal speech. 

If you have one or more of the symptoms listed, you need a diagnosis. After consultation, the pediatrician will refer the child to a psychiatrist, neurologist, psychologist for examination to clarify the causes of delayed speech and referral to centers for children with delayed speech development to work with specialists. 

Parents should remember that the symptoms of speech delays in children are serious, and do not put off the problem long enough, which will affect the health and well-being of the child in the future. ‘Educational trends’ and the position ‘when your child grows up, he or she will talk’ are convenient, but fraught with consequences. 

Speech delays Prevention 


For the baby to develop correctly, and for parents to hear the cherished ‘mom’ and ‘daddy’ by a year, speech development should be engaged from birth. This does not mean that you have to read ‘Hamlet’ at a month of age and demand a reaction to what was heard - basic preventive measures are enough:

  • Talk to your baby, talk about what you saw, how your day went, share secrets;
  • Pronounce words clearly and in an adult way - nothing delays the speech as much as fumbling and muttering of words;
  • Sing lullabies and read stories with expression;
  • Encourage your baby to talk and point to things;
  • Don't turn on the TV or radio in the background;
  • Play games that develop fine motor skills;
  • Do general and articulation exercises;
  • See the doctor regularly and don't wait out of the blue if you notice a problem.

Speech Delays treatment

Treatment for speech delays is complex - with medical tools/methods and a developmental environment provided by teachers and parents. Parents of a child with speech delays should remember that the best doctor in the world and exercises are powerless if the child is not treated at home. 

According to the director of the ‘Child with Future’ kindergarten Natalya Struchek, whatever the causes may be, developing exercises with parents is a prerequisite for speech formation and fixing the results achieved with teachers in everyday life: "There were cases in my practice when parents failed to follow the recommendations of our specialists. As a rule, this leads to the fact that the child has nowhere to practice the new skills, respectively, they do not consolidate.” 

Medical treatment:

  • Transcranial micropolarization - weak current exposure to areas of the brain responsible for the formation of motor skills and speech sense;
  • Electroacupuncture (microcurrent reflex therapy) - current exposure to reflex zones;
  • Physiotherapy, tongue massage;
  • Medications - nootropics, vitamin complexes, etc.

Speech delay treatment involves regular exercises for young children and a properly chosen technique. A speech therapist works on the clarity and accuracy of pronunciation, training the child's speech apparatus. A psychologist activates cognitive processes, works on fine motor skills, and reduces anxiety and tension in a child. Parents play a key role, as they should follow the recommendations and create a favorable environment for the child's speech skills development. 

It is also important to remember that some other conditions and pathologies often accompany speech delays that require intervention due to their direct effect on speech formation. For example, autism (ASD), attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cerebral palsy, etc. Thus, the treatment and the prognosis depend on the detection and treatment of all disorders.

Treatment of delayed speech development in Kiev

If a child has a speech delay, you can not cope alone and need to turn to professionals.

There is a wide range of treating institutions in Ukraine. However, the biggest concentration of services is in Kyiv.  

The ‘Child with Future’ kindergarten works with children with speech delays and successfully copes with the diagnosis of babies from 1 year old! For advice, please contact the professionals at