What is a speech delay and how we can help

confidence through speech therapy

Every child is unique and this extends to their speech journey. Some children may start babbling up a storm very early, while others take a more leisurely stroll towards spoken words. The purpose of this article is to support you with what to do when the stroll towards speaking is a bit slower than expected. 

What is a speech delay? 

Speech delay is not a one-size-fits-all term because every child is different. How we define a speech delay is when a child’s speech and language development lags behind their peers. In saying this, we want you to keep in mind that it’s not a race! 

The Marvels of Early Language Development

Before we delve deeper into the intricacies of speech delay, let’s take a moment to marvel at the incredible journey of early language development. From cooing and babbling to sharing their first words, a child’s linguistic development involves sounds, gestures, and expressions. Early language development is where children learn to express themselves and we get to know their unique character. 

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Identifying a Speech Delay

Children have different developmental timelines, however there are some common indicators we can look at that may suggest a child is on a slightly different path in their linguistic journey:

Late Onset of Babbling:

  • Most babies begin to babble around 6 months. If your little one seems to be taking their time to start babbling it could be a signal worth noting. 

Limited Vocabulary:

  • By the age of 1, many children start uttering their first words, gradually expanding their vocabulary. If your child’s vocabulary remains limited or doesn’t show significant growth by their second birthday, it could be a sign of speech delay.

Difficulty Forming Sentences:

  • As toddlers grow, so does their ability to string words together to form simple sentences. If your child finds it challenging to move beyond one-word expressions or struggles to convey thoughts coherently, speech delay might be a consideration.

Lack of Social Engagement:

  • Language is not just about words; it’s a tool for social connection. A child with speech delay may exhibit difficulty engaging in conversations or responding to social cues from others.

Frustration and Behavioral Changes:

  • Imagine having a world of thoughts and feelings but struggling to express them. For a child experiencing speech delay, this frustration might manifest in behavioural changes, such as physically acting out, withdrawal, or heightened emotional responses.

Causes of Speech Delays

There are many factors that contribute to speech delays and it’s important to remember that every child’s development comes together in different ways. Some common factors include:

Genetic Factors:

  • In some cases, speech delay may have a genetic component, where a family history of language difficulties plays a role.

Ear Health:

  • Imagine trying to learn a language with the volume turned down. Chronic ear infections can significantly impact a child’s ability to acquire language, leading to delays in speech and communication.

Speech Sound Disorders:

  • Sometimes, the challenge lies in the mechanics of speech itself. Speech sound disorders can impede a child’s ability to produce words clearly.


  • The environment in which a child grows plays a crucial role. Less exposure to language-rich experiences, such as reading books, engaging in conversations, and interactive play, can contribute to speech delay.

The Importance of Early Intervention

Just as a gardener tends to a delicate seedling, early intervention is the nurturing touch that can make a world of difference in a child’s linguistic journey. Recognising the signs of speech delay and taking proactive steps can pave the way for a brighter, more expressive future.

Speech Therapy:

  • Speech Pathologists are dedicated professionals working to unlock the linguistic potential within each child. Through playful activities, interactive games, and targeted exercises, speech pathologists help children strengthen their communication skills.

Parental and Caregiver Involvement:

  • Parents and caregivers are the most influential teachers in a child’s life. Embracing the role of language facilitators, parents and caregivers can engage in activities that promote speech and language development, turning everyday moments into opportunities for learning and connection. Online therapy makes it easier than ever for parents and caregivers to be involved in this process.

Multidisciplinary Approach:

  • Overcoming speech delays is a collaborative effort. A multidisciplinary approach involving speech pathologists, educators, and other allied health and medical professionals ensures a holistic understanding of a child’s unique needs.

Creating Language-Rich Environments:

  • Creating a language-rich environment at home and in educational settings involves immersing a child in a sea of words, stories, and conversations that ignite their curiosity and fuel their linguistic growth.

Unlocking Potential with Therapy Connect

Therapy Connect harnesses the power of technology to bring highly experienced speech pathologists into your home. We offer online speech therapy sessions tailored to your child’s unique needs and goals. These sessions are not only effective but also convenient, eliminating the need for stressful commutes and allowing your child to engage in therapy in a familiar and comfortable environment.

The Therapy Connect Difference

What sets Therapy Connect apart from traditional speech therapy services? Let’s explore the unique features that make this platform a game-changer for families dealing with speech delay.

Personalised Care: Therapy Connect understands that each child is unique, and so are their needs. The online platform ensures that therapy sessions are customised to address specific challenges and promote individualised progress.

Convenience Redefined: Say goodbye to the hassles of scheduling and commuting. Therapy Connect brings therapy sessions to your living room, making it easier for both parents, caregivers and children to stay consistent with the intervention plan.

Expertise at Your Fingertips: Access to experienced and highly qualified speech therapists means your child receives top-notch care. Therapy Connect’s team of professionals is dedicated to guiding your child through their speech and language development journey.

Get started

Visit Therapy Connect today to get started with an assessment and be matched to a speech pathologist to support your needs. We are an NDIS registered provider and speech pathology services are fully covered by NDIS plans. 

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