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Identify the Signs of Communication Disorders

Identify the Signs is a campaign sponsored by the  National Association for Hearing and Speech Action (NAHSA), the consumer affiliate of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

The goal of the campaign is to educate the public about the warning signs of communication disorders. Speech, language, and hearing disorders are treatable and early detection is a major contributor to speedier recoveries, shortened treatment periods, and reduced costs for individuals and society.

The following are signs of common speech and language disorders in children between birth to 4 years of age, an important stage in early detection of communication disorders.

Signs of a Language Disorder

  • 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)
  • Words are not easily understood (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 trouble with early reading and writing skills (2.5-3 years)

Signs of a Speech Sound Disorder

  • 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)

Signs of Stuttering (Disfluency)

  • 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)

Signs of a Voice Disorder

  • Uses a hoarse or breathy voice
  • Uses a nasal-sounding voice

Visit the Identify the Signs site to learn more about communication disorder warning signs and the steps parents can take to address them.

Do you have concerns about your child? We invite you to call our Care Coordinators at 650.688.3625 or email us at careteam@chconline.org to set up an initial Parent Consultation appointment.

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