Signs of a Speech-Language Disorder in Children and Adults


Suspect a Speech or Language Disorder? Here’s What You Need to Know:

Signs of a Speech-Language Disorder in Children:

• Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
• Does not babble (4-7 months)
• Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7-12 months)
• Does not understand what others say (7 months-2 years)
• Says only a few words (12-18 months)
• Does not easily understand words (18 months-2 years)
• Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5-3 years)
• Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)
• Has difficulty following directions (2-3 years)
• Has trouble with early reading and writing skills (2.5-3 years)
• Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1-2 years)
• Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2-3 years)
• Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2-3 years)
• Struggles to say sounds or words (2.5-3 years)
• Repeats first sounds of words—”b-b-b-ball” for “ball” (2.5-3 years)
• Pauses a lot while talking (2.5-3 years)
• Stretches sounds out—”f-f-f-f-farm” for “farm” (2.5-3 years)
• Uses a hoarse or breathy voice
• Uses a nasal-sounding voice


Signs of a Speech-Language Disorder in Adults:

• Struggles to say sounds or words
• Repeats words or parts of words
• Speaks in short, fragmented phrases
• Says words in the wrong order
• Struggles with using words and understanding others
• Has difficulty imitating speech sounds
• Makes inconsistent errors
• Has a slow rate of speech
• Has slurred speech
• Has difficulty making his/herself understood
• Has a slow or rapid rate of speech, often with a mumbling quality
• Has difficulty communicating wants, needs and ideas