Speech Delays in Toddlers & Children: Types & Examples

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that over 7 percent of children in the United States have some type of speech delay? In this lesson, you'll learn more about the different types of speech delays from examples. Updated: 02/27/2020


Suppose that you are a second grade teacher in an elementary school. You notice that Sam, one of your students, speaks differently than the other children in the classroom. Other students appear to have a hard time understanding Sam's speech. You also notice that Sam is easily frustrated whenever he has to do a task that involves talking to others. Based on this information, you conclude that Sam may be suffering from a speech delay.

A speech delay refers to when a child does not develop speech capabilities within the normal age range. Children with speech delays may reach all other developmental milestones as expected, but their speech skills may be several months behind their same-aged peers.

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  • 0:02 Introduction
  • 0:40 Types of Speech Delays
  • 2:38 Causes
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Types of Speech Delays

There are two types of speech delays:

  • Expressive delays
  • Receptive delays

It is possible for a child with a speech delay to have an expressive delay, receptive delay, or a mixed expressive and receptive delay. Children with expressive delays have trouble producing speech sounds. In other words, their ability to use words to communicate with others is impaired. Children with expressive delays are able to understand language but have difficulty expressing language.

Examples of children with expressive delays include:

  • 1-year-old that cannot say at least three words
  • 18-month-old that cannot say at least fifteen words
  • 2-year-old that cannot yet say 'Mama' and 'Dada'
  • 4-year-old that is hard to understand by close family members
  • 5-year-old that cannot form 2-3 word sentences
  • 9-year-old that leaves words out of sentences, for example says things such as 'I read' instead of 'I can read'
  • 10-year-old that is unable to join sentences using conjunctions, for example 'and' or 'but'

Children with receptive delays can produce speech sounds. However, they have trouble understanding what is being said to them. In other words, they have trouble receiving language.

Examples of children with receptive delays include:

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