Jason is 2 years old and is not talking much. He says a few words, but not many. He seems to be way behind the other 2-year-olds in the childcare setting. When he does talk, his words are very clear and easy to understand. Two-year old Tania, on the other hand, is always talking. She knows lots of words, but it is hard to understand what she is saying. The childcare provider wonders if either child has a communication problem.
The answer is, they both may have communication disorders. Jason may have a language disorder. Tania may have a speech disorder. So what is the difference between the two?
Speech and language are both tools of communication. They are separate from each other, though. Speech deals with how children say words. It refers to the way a child can pronounce or use the different speech sounds in words. Language, on the other hand, refers to how well a child can express ideas and understand others. It deals with understanding and being understood through communication.
So a child with a language problem might be able to say words well but may not be able to put words together to share ideas very well. A child with a speech problem, on the other hand, may put lots of words together but is hard to understand. Some children may have both speech and language problems.
A child’s communication is considered delayed
when she is behind other children her age in speech and language skills.
“Delayed” means the child is doing things in the right way
and in the right order, but is slower than other children in learning
them. On the other hand, a child might have a disorder if his speech
or language is very different from that of other children who are like
him in other ways. There also might be a disorder if a child's speech
and/or language is difficult to understand. Another sign of a disorder
is when a child seems to be very worried about how she talks or avoids
communicating with other people.
For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at email@example.com
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