Language delay means the child has the typical language development, but slower than her peers, while language disorder means the development is not in the same typical order for language. A child with delayed language may or may not have a diagnosis with medical or developmental disorder or illness and it may be in the expressive language or mixed (receptive "understanding" and expressive"verbal and gestures"). On the other hand, language disorder may associate with certain diagnosis such as Autism. A child with language disorder may have impairment in pre-verbal skills, receptive, expressive language and social skills. A speech therapist can assess your child's language and tell you if it is delayed or disorder, then design and implement a treatment plan.
Children start talking in different times. Every child is different, but some children start talking later than their siblings or peers. Parents may hear from others: My child was silent and suddenly by age 3 or 4 started to talk and now she doesn't stop talking! This is what typically called Late Bloomers. On the other hand, late talkers (who also known Late Language Emergence) have a delay in language onset with no medical or developmental problems/diagnosis. Many people will tell parents, even doctors, not to worry and wait until school age and the child will start talking by herself. In fact, no one can tell if your child is either a late talker or a late bloomer. Some signs and risk factors may tell the speech therapist if the child is a late talker or bloomer. People may be right and the child will speak close to school age, but what if the child does not speak? It will be more challenging to start therapy at age 4 or 5. The earlier, the better. Your child's critical language acquisition is the first three years of age. Then, language acquisition will be slower. It is very important to see a Speech Therapist to evaluate your child's language abilities rather than feeling guilty (It's better to be safe than sorry!). The following link from American Speech-Language and Hearing Association is recommended for parents who have concerns: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Late-Blooming-or-Language-Problem/
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