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Speech delay / disorder
Speech delay is when a child produces sound errors that result in speech that sounds like that of a younger child. Their sounds are behind what is expected for a child their age, but is following the normal pattern of development.
Speech disorder is when a child’s speech sounds are not developing in the usual pattern expected and they may be producing some unusual errors.
Language Delay / disorder
Language delay is when a child’s understanding and / or use of spoken language is behind what is expected of a child their age, but is following the normal patter of development.
Language disorder is when a child’s understanding and / or use of spoken language is not developing in the unusual pattern and sentences may be limited or sound jumbled up.
Stammering / Stuttering
Stammering or stuttering is speech that is not produced smoothly and fluently and is disrupted with features such as; repetition of words or sounds, facial tension/ twitches, silent moments in sentences as the word appears to become ‘stuck’.
Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia
Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia is a difficulty in organising and sequencing the movements required for speech. This can result in speech that is very difficult to understand.
Selective mutism is a condition whereby a child who is able to speak will opt out of speaking in certain situations, such as at school. They will speak freely in other situations, such as at home.
Other factors effecting speech and language development include:
· Hearing impairment - a child who has had frequent ear infections or ‘glue ear’ may have delayed speech and language.
· Developmental delay—a child who has an overall delay in their development is likely to have delayed speech and language, e.g. in conditions such as Down’s syndrome or learning difficulties.