Simple Language Delay in Children
A simple language delay is a mild difficulty at the onset of language development. In other words, it is not a long-term problem.
When a child doesn’t have a language ability appropriate for their age, they are likely experiencing a delay.
The most common causes of this are over-protection and lack of stimulation in the home. For example, if parents always anticipate the child’s wishes, the child won’t be motivated to express his wishes out loud.
Although the expression of language is affected, this doesn’t imply that understanding is also affected. On the contrary, a simple language delay indicates that the child understands more than he speaks.
How does a simple language delay manifest?
A simple language delay indicates that language is developing later than normal and more slowly.
In these cases, the child’s first words appear around age 2 instead of age 1. On the other hand, the union of two words (for example, “yellow flower”) manifests after 3 years, when this should happen at about 18 months.
It should be noted that, as language is scarcer, the formation of sentences becomes more difficult. This means that when the child is asked something, he responds with very short sentences and, in general, is very brief.
In this same sense, it is evident that the child takes a passive attitude when it comes to language.
There are some stages in which the child understands specific phrases, especially when his family intervenes. For example: “give me the ball.”
However, with more abstract space/time phrases or with phrases that aren’t very familiar to him (for example: “going on a trip”), he won’t understand at an early age.
The causes of simple language delay
- Family history of simple language delay
- Certain environmental factors: poor or deficient vocabulary in the family environment, lack of stimulation or over-protection.
- Conflicts and violence in the home.
What are the differences between a simple language delay and other language disorders?
According to studies, a specific language disorder known as dysphasia is considered a more severe form of a simple language delay. In this case, language is also acquired late, but it doesn’t follow the normal evolutionary patterns.
In particular, the understanding of language is usually more affected than in a simple language delay.
However, when experts start treating a child who has a simple language delay, they find it difficult to differentiate one disorder compared to the other.
Therefore, it’s essential to visit an expert urgently. The evolution of language development and finding solutions are more effective when treated early.
Things to consider
Some believe this disorder has no major impact on the development of the child’s learning. It’s estimated that the situation will begin to improve after age 6.
In some cases, a simple language delay can also be associated with clumsiness in terms of fine motor coordination, as well as regarding lateral coordination and an ability to differentiate colors, shapes and temporal spaces.
The most appropriate suggestions for dealing with these cases of simple language delay is to vocalize adequately – don’t rush when speaking, and avoid childish vocabulary.
You should establish a practical and pleasant conversation that is especially adapted to his ability to understand. Finally, it’s advisable to read stories with images, as this helps support vocabulary.
Also use children’s songs, which are considered an excellent tool for initiating verbal speech patterns.
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- Aguilera Albesa, S., & Busto Crespo, O. (2012). Trastornos del lenguaje. Pediatria Integral.
- Artigas, J., Rigau, E., & García-Nonell, K. (2008). Trastornos del lenguaje. AEP: Protocolos de actualización, 24, 178-84. http://www.aeped.es/sites/default/files/documentos/24-lenguaje.pdf
- i Cusidó, E. S. (1992). Retraso del lenguaje y adquisición de la morfología. Revista de Logopedia, Foniatría y Audiología, 12(1), 39-44. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0214460392755326