Developmental Language Difficulties

Language Delay

Language starts to develop in children from birth. This includes the understanding and use of different types of words (e.g. object labels, action words, social greetings), simple phrases, sentences and the correct use of grammar (e.g. word endings).

Indicators of a language difficulty include:

  • First words have not started to develop by the age of 15-18 months
  • Single words have been used for several months but are not being put together
  • By 2 years the child is saying less than 50 words and is not outing 2 words together
  • May have difficulty understanding words or simple instructions
  • Has difficulty answering questions
  • Has difficulty putting words together into sentences and using grammar

A delay in the language is when the development of language is slow to develop and is not in line with the stages expected for their age. Language delay may be the main difficulty or part of another difficulty such as hearing, global developmental delay or autism.

Developmental Language Disorder

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is a term used to describe the development of language when it is not following typical patterns of development and is persistent beyond the age of 5 years.

Indicators of DLD include:

  • Difficulty finding words to say
  • Limited range of words
  • Sentences are short with limited use of grammar
  • Difficulties using sentences to tell stories
  • Difficulties providing information to others or giving instructions
  • Difficulties understanding language
  • Repeating (“parroting”) words
  • Using words / sentences without understanding them
  • Using jargon
  • Mixing up words
  • Difficulties understanding word meanings

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