At Manchester SLT we treat children with speech delay. Our highly experienced therapists provide individualised treatment plans to help children overcome their speech delay and communicate to their highest potential in their home, school and social environments.
What is speech delay?
Speech delay is when a child follows the normal pattern of speech development but at a slower rate than their typically developing peers.
Children with speech delay will have difficulties producing certain speech sounds and their speech will sound immature than the rest of their same age peers. Children will acquire speech in the normal pattern, but will use phonological processes for a longer period and not acquire sounds at the same time as peers of the same age.
Speech delay can be mild, with the child only having difficulties in certain sounds. Other children may have difficulties with large groups of sounds which may cause them to be unintelligible (not understood by others) to the listener.
Speech delay can be caused by a variety of problems which can include:
- Hearing loss or impairment
- Attention and listening problems
- Developmental disorders
- Processing problems
Speech delay can vary from mild to severe and can impact on a child's social, emotional and academic performance. Children may get frustrated when they are not understood and others may find it increasingly difficult to understand the child.
Speech delay can also affect a child's acquisition and production of language and may occur alongside language delay.
Speech delay responds extremely well to speech and language therapy and will often resolve with treatment.
What problems caused by speech delay can speech and language therapy help with?
There are many problems which can be caused by speech delay, which speech and language therapy can help with, these include:
- Expressive language difficulties - where a child has difficulty expressing spoken or written information.
- Receptive language difficulties - where the child has difficulty understanding spoken or written information.
- Attention and listening problems - where the child has difficulty attending to, or listening to information.
- Eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties
- If unresolved speech delay may progress into a speech disorder
Speech delay may additionally impact on the child's social and emotional status and affect their academic performance.
It is important that speech and language therapy is implemented as early as possible to gain the best possible outcome from therapy.
How can Speech and Language Therapy help children with speech delay?
Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial for children with speech delay. Speech delay is often resolved with speech and language therapy and is more effective when received in the preschool years.
The main aim of speech and language therapy for children with speech delay will be to improve and develop the child's intelligibility (how well they are understood by others). Speech and language therapy will aim to maximise the child's communication to their highest potential.
The speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment which will determine the type and severity of the child's speech delay and also the impact it is having on other areas of their development. Following an initial assessment the speech and language therapist will devise a treatment plan, which will be tailored to the specific needs and abilities of the child.
There are a variety of treatment options available for speech delay; however the type of treatment chosen will be dependent on the child's specific needs and abilities. The speech and language therapist will ensure each session is fun and motivating, and tailor the activities to match the child's age, abilities and interests.
Treatment options for children with speech delay can include:
- Speech programme
- Language programme
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Pre-school communication groups
- Parent- child interaction groups
- Advice and support for parents / carers and other professionals e.g. educational staff
- Home programmes
Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial for children with speech delay and can help to improve and develop and child's speech, language and communication. Speech and language therapy will also have a positive impact on other areas of the child's development, including their emotional, play and social development.