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Expressive Language Delay

Expressive Language Delay

Communication skills in a child progresses from single-word utterances to two-word phrases and finally to sentences. By the age of 4 years, children can speak in 5 to 7 word sentences and master the basic grammar rules of their language. For example, the tenses, plurals, pronouns, etc,.

Speech-language therapy is recommended for children or adults who have difficulty with any aspect of expressive language, like limited vocabulary, incorrect grammar, and inadequate social skills.

Expressive Language disorders in children can be associated with:

  • Hearing impairment
  • Downs syndrome/ developmental delay
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Autism
  • ADHD
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This is the most common misconception about language development. Research has proven that the human brain is well equipped to learn more than one language. Children in India are known to learn three languages simultaneously.

The delay in expressive language may be due to hearing impairment, poor attention, lack of interest, or developmental delay. Once a diagnosis is made and the cause of delay is confirmed, the therapist may recommend using one language for a certain period of time.

Excessive screen time can result in a lack of interest in communication and a delay in language development. All experts agree that screen time for children below the age of 2 years should be zero. After two years, a maximum of two hours per day is recommended.

Whenever parents are concerned about the delay, it’s best to consult an experienced SLP or a Developmental Pediatrician. We disagree with ‘the wait and watch’ policy. There is great variability among children with speech acquisition. However, an expert will evaluate if any red flags warrant attention or if the delay is within the normal range.

Red flags for a expressive language delay can be:

  • 1. Does not respond to name call by the age of 1 year
  • 2. Does not point for his needs by the age of 18 months
  • 3. Does not call parents by the age of 18 months
  • 4. Does not join two word by 2.5 years
  • 5. Repeats questions instead of answering them
  • 6. Not able to narrate stories by the age of 4 years
  • 7. Not able to negotiate with parents by the age of 4 years

There is no evidence that sign language or PECs can impact spoken language development. Children with delays in communication development need an easy way to begin to learn communication. Putting pressure on the child will only make them more defiant and want to escape from adults who force them. Speech development cannot be forced but it needs to be facilitated easily and systematically.

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