Receptive language refers to the ability to understand spoken and written utterances, words and sentences. Expressive language refers to the ability to use gestures, sounds, words, and sentences to communicate with others through speech or writing. 

Language delay is a delay in the acquisition of expressive and receptive language skills.  Your child may have a language delay if their expressive and receptive language skills develop more slowly compared to other children their age. Their language development follows a typical developmental pattern but begins at a later age, progresses at a much slower rate, and therefore may be equivalent to that of a typically developing child of a younger age. 
 

Children with receptive language delay may find it challenging to

 

  • follow instructions

  • respond to questions

  • pay attention during group activities at daycare or school

  • read and listen to stories 

  • understand what is said or asked 

  • understand age-appropriate vocabulary and concepts 

  • be uninterested  when others are speaking

Children with expressive language delay may find it difficult to

  • answer questions

  • retell a story 

  • express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings

  • express their wants and needs

  • use the right words when talking to others due to limited vocabulary 

  • initiate and participate in a conversation 

 

Early intervention is critical 

Parents often ask themselves

 

- How do I know if my child has a language delay? 

- Should I contact a Speech-Language Pathologist? 

- Should I wait until my child turns five because his paediatrician says that every child develops at their own pace?  

All children progress at different paces, so parents and paediatricians sometimes overlook or ignore that a child's language is delayed. While every child develops at their own pace, most typically developing children reach language milestones by a certain age, from the baby milestones of saying the first sounds to producing complete sentences at the age of three. Research has shown that the first three years of a child's life, when the brain is developing, are the most critical for the development of speech and language skills. If that period passes without adequate exposure to language stimuli,  a developmental window closes and language acquisition is much more challenging. 

When language difficulties continue pass a certain age and cannot be explained by other factors, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, a child is considered to have a language disorder. Children with language disorders often have normal non-verbal intelligence. However, they have difficulties specifically with expressive and/or receptive language which can significantly impact their ability to perform well at school and establish and maintain relationships with their peers. Children with language disorders may develop learning disabilities at a later age. For more information click the LEARNING DISABILITIES section. 

Contact us for a free consultation if you are concerned about your child's language or if your child isn’t meeting developmental speech and language milestones.  We will evaluate your child's communication skills and schedule a comprehensive assessment if necessary.  You can reach us at 647-848-2988, email at info@speechpartners.ca or fill out the online form.

Services are available online, in the clinic, your home, school or child care facility.

There are no waiting lists. 

Funding is available for eligible families through various private and government assistance programs. For more information visit the FUNDING page.

Language Delay or Disorder 

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647-848-2988

Toronto, Ontario

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