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Speech and Language: Problems and their causes

How fast and how well children learn to use language to communicate what they want to say varies quite a bit, and parents can become concerned if their child doesn't seem to be talking as well as others the same age. For example, when a five-year old says, "me go bathroom," he sounds more like a younger child. Or if a two-year old has a vocabulary of only two or three words, she is behind the average, which is about 50 words.

There are several reasons why children have trouble with language. Some children haven't had enough opportunity to hear other people talking or reading stories to them. Other children may be slow to speak because of a hearing loss. Some children are born with less talent for language, just as others are born with less musical or athletic talents. Or, some children who are behind in talking may have other challenges that make it harder for them to learn to speak as well as other children.

Just remember that your child's trouble with language does not necessarily mean he is less intelligent. Intelligence is made up of many factors, many of which are not related to language skills.

If you are concerned that your child is behind in language, you may want to call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.

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