Center for Speech and Language Disorders

Therapy That Makes A Difference

820 North Orleans Street Suite 217
Chicago, IL 60654

630-652-0200 310-D South Main Street
Lombard, IL 60148

Helping Individuals Reach Their Full Potential

Signs of Speech and Language Disorders in Children

Here are some of the signs to help you determine if your young child has a speech, language, or hearing disorder.

(Adapted from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association)

Signs of a Language Disorder

  • Doesn't smile or interact with others (birth–3 months)
  • Doesn't babble (4–7 months)
  • Makes few sounds (7–12 months)
  • Does not use gestures (e.g., waving, pointing) (7–12 months)
  • Doesn't understand what others say (7 months–2 years)
  • Says only a few words (12–18 months)
  • Doesn't put words together to make sentences (1½–3 years)
  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2–3 years)
  • Has problems with early reading and writing skills—for example, may not show an interest in books or drawing (2½–3 years)

Ways to Help With Language Disorders

  • Listen and respond to your child
  • Talk, read, and play with your child
  • Communicate with your child in the language that you are most comfortable using
  • Know that it's good to teach your child to speak a second language
  • Talk about what you are doing and what your child is doing
  • Use a lot of different words with your child
  • Use longer sentences as your child gets older
  • Have your child play with other children

Signs of a Speech Sound Disorder

  • Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1–2 years)
  • Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2–3 years)
  • Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2–3 years)

Ways to Help With Speech Sound Disorders

  • Say the sounds correctly when you talk—it's okay if your child makes some mistakes with sounds
  • Don't correct speech sounds—it's more important to let your child keep talking

Signs of Stuttering (Disfluency)

  • Struggles to say sounds or words (2½–3 years)
  • Repeats first sounds of words—"b-b-b-ball" for "ball" (2½–3 years)
  • Pauses a lot while talking (2½–3 years)
  • Stretches sounds out—"f-f-f-f-farm" for "farm" (2½–3 years)

Ways to Help With Stuttering or Disfluency

  • Give your child time to talk
  • Do not interrupt or stop your child while he or she is speaking
  • See an SLP if you are concerned (Many young children stutter for a short period of time; in most cases, the stuttering will stop.)

Signs of a Voice Disorder

  • Uses a hoarse or breathy voice
  • Uses a nasal-sounding voice

Ways to Help With Voice Disorders

  • See a doctor if your child sounds hoarse or breathy or has a nasal-sounding voice
  • Tell your child not to shout or scream
  • Keep your child away from cigarette smoke