What Other Issues Can I Expect When Dealing with a Speech Delay?

Learn about the secondary problems that can be caused by a speech delay, or the more uncommon issues that can actually lead to a toddler speech delay.

A child with a toddler speech delay maybe also experience some other problems that can either cause the delay in the first place or become secondary to it.  There could be one or many factors contributing to your child’s delay in speech.  It can be so frustrating for a child to not be able to express how he feels.  So along with some secondary conditions below, you might want to keep in mind how to deal with his anger and frustration.

Speech Delays, Toddlers and Tantrums: How to Deal

 Secondary Problems to a Toddler Speech Delay

Cleft lip: This facial malformation happens early in pregnancy and is the fourth most common birth defect in the United States.  It affects one in 700 babies every year.  A cleft lip happens when there is not enough tissue, and what tissue is there, doesn’t connect properly.  Speech can be delayed when a child had a cleft lip.  Their voices do not carry well and their voice may have a nasal tone to it.  Surgery could fix these problems, or a speech pathologist can work with your child.

Deafness: If a child is born deaf or partially deaf, they are unable to hear words correctly, therefore they will be unable to speak them correctly.  I imagine you might learn early on if your child is completely deaf (they conduct a hearing test while you are still in the hospital, you may not remember though).  Partial deafness is something that might be a little more difficult to discover, and you may not know until your child is supposed to start talking and he isn’t.  You can bring him to a doctor, they can conduct more thorough hearing tests, and maybe recommend a speech specialist.

Does a Toddler Speech Delay Equal A Hearing Problem?

Childhood apraxia: This is a childhood condition in which your child has difficulty making the right sounds in the correct order.  What happens is the brain has difficulty communicating with the muscles that need to move to make sound come out.  Children benefit from intense and frequent treatment, about 3-5 times per week with a speech therapist.  Some children do this in groups, although most do best one on one.  Therapy can not be limited to just sessions, home has to be a safe and encouraging environment as well.

Dysarthria: Motor difficulty in creating speech that involves lips, tongue, vocal cords and diaphragm.  A child with dysarthria might have slurred or choppy speech, maybe mumbled.  They might have rapid speech as well, which comes across like mumbling.  Work with your child to slow down his rate of speech.  Also, work on his breathing, so he can slow down and speak more loudly and not mumble.

These are a few secondary problems to a toddler speech delay.  As a parent, it can get frustrating for you at times, because you see the difficulty your child is having in communicating.

What sort of things have you done as parent to support and help your child with a toddler speech delay?  Share your experiences with us and what has worked for you and your child.
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22 thoughts on “What Other Issues Can I Expect When Dealing with a Speech Delay?”

  1. What a great post indeed! My cousin had this issue and we put him under hearing tests for sometime. Finally he slowly got better with the help of speech therapy treatments. Thanks for sharing a lot of information about this.

  2. Well – this is so smart – there are such a myriad of reasons – I didn’t really have an issue with my little guy in this area – but I know that patience, understanding, and love is needed, always

  3. This post would be great for teachers in preschools to read! We have a neighbor with a speech delay. I don’t know her email to send her this, but I may ask her for it.

  4. My son is in the IEP class for speech. I think I might ask his therapist about some of these possibilities.

  5. My oldest did not have a speech delay but she did have a stutter when she was little. We had a speech therapist come in and help her 2x a week when she was little. She learned how to control it.

  6. My daughter didn’t have a speech delay, but they detected her mispronouncing words really late. Like 4th grade. We finally got her enrolled in the speech program at school, but I worry it may be too late in the game for her to correct it.

  7. As a mom and childcare provider I 100% avoid ‘baby talk’ with kids and babies. In addition, I encourage speech and ask them to try and repeat me versus answering a pointed finger.

  8. My son had a speech delay when he was younger. It was actually caused by him not being able to hear! Once we got that cleared up the speech delay cleared up too.

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