Some elements of our website may not load if you have an ad blocker turned on.

Speech and Language Delays: Common Misconceptions - Forrest Health
    Share This
    Skip to main content

    Speech and Language Delays: Common Misconceptions

    Topic Overview

    Significant speech and language delays are directly related to developmental or health issues. But some people blame speech and language delays on factors that are not the cause of true delays, such as:

    • Developmental variation. Mild and temporary speech delays can occur. And some children learn new words faster than others do. But if your child is not saying words by 18 months, or can say fewer than 50 words by 24 months, talk to your doctor. Don't assume that delays are the result of normal developmental differences.
    • Laziness. Young children instinctively practice speech and language as these skills emerge. While they do not hold back out of laziness, they may do so because of intimidation, stress, fear, or other problems.
    • Having older siblings. Younger children may begin to talk slightly later than their older brothers or sisters did. However, having one or more older siblings does not cause significant speech and language delays.
    • Being a boy. Girls usually are ahead of boys in language development after the first year, but there is only a slight difference. Significant delays are not caused by gender.
    • Bilingualism. Children raised in bilingual homes may have a slight delay in beginning to speak. They also may mix both languages until they are about 3 to 4 years old, after which they usually speak them both well. Children who grow up in bilingual homes do not have more difficulty in learning to talk, read, and write than those who are learning one language. In fact, learning two or more languages at a young age may boost a child's overall ability to learn.

    Related Information

    References

    Other Works Consulted

    • Simms MD, Schum RL (2011). Language development and communication disorders. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., pp. 114–122. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

    Credits

    Current as ofMarch 27, 2018

    Author: Healthwise Staff
    Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
    Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
    Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics


    Related Locations


    Featured News

    • Forrest General Director Co-authors Professional Article for National Publication

      Lorie Mills, RHIT, CCS, director of Coding and CDI at Forrest General Hospital, co-authored an educational article for coders and other health information professionals titled AMI Documentation: Red Flags for CDI and Coding, which was published by American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA) website HIM Body of Knowledge.
      July 11, 2019