What Causes Delayed Speech or Language?
There are many reasons for delays in speech and language development. Speech delays in an otherwise normally developing child are rarely caused by oral impairments, such as problems with the tongue or palate (the roof of the mouth). Being “tongue-tied” (when the frenulum – the fold beneath the tongue – is too tight) is almost never a cause of delayed speech. A number of children with speech delays have oral-motor problems, meaning there’s inefficient communication in the areas of the brain responsible for speech production. The child encounters difficulty using the lips, tongue, and jaw to produce speech sounds. Speech may be the only problem or may be accompanied by other oral-motor problems such as feeding difficulties. A speech delay may also indicate a more “global” (or general) developmental delay. Hearing problems are also commonly related to delayed speech, which is why a child’s hearing should be tested by an audiologist whenever there’s a speech concern. If a child has trouble