Speech Delay/Disorder

Speech is the term used to describe the production of sounds and how they are joined together to make words.

Every language has its own set of sounds and they usually develop in a particular pattern starting with simple sounds (e.g. p/b/m) and increasing to those more difficult to say (e.g. “sh”,”l”).  When children are learning to speak they will often make mistakes in the way that they say sounds or the order that they use them in.

A speech delay is when children are not yet using the sounds that would be expected for their age or in the right places.

A speech disorder is when children do not use sounds that are typically part of their language or are not following the usual patterns of development.

Indicators of speech difficulties include:

  • May use a limited number of sounds
  • May have difficulty combining sounds together
  • Speech is difficult to understand (especially by unfamiliar adults)
  • Difficulties with other mouth movements e.g. blowing and sucking
  • Dribbling beyond the expected age
  • Correct sounds are substituted by other sounds
  • Sounds are missed out of words
  • Vowel sounds are distorted

What to expect

An initial appointment with a Speech and Language Therapist to include taking a history of your child’s development and your concerns. This will be followed by a full assessment of your child’s language and communication skills. The Speech and language therapist will then devise and agree a therapy programme to be implemented.

What happens next?

All future management decisions are made collaboratively with school, families and the Speech and Language Therapy Team.


For further information please contact Speech & Language Therapy on 01922 605400.

Walsall Healthcare Speech & Language Therapy Department, Blakenall Village Centre, Thames Road, Blakenall, Walsall, WS3 1LZ