Speech delay and disorder

Speech refers to the pronunciation of the sounds we use to talk. 

Children’s development of speech sounds is a gradual process, usually lasting the first four or five years.

Learn more on Speech delay and disorder
A delay is where the pattern of speech development is slow, but normal and a disorder is where language is slow to develop and sequence of development/pattern of errors is a typical.Most children follow a similar pattern, with easy sounds learned first in babbling, and more difficult sounds emerging later.Children’s speech does not sound like adult speech because they make typical child-like ‘sound replacements’. These sound  replacements are called phonological processes by some researchers

Some individuals continue to have difficulties with speech sounds well beyond the average age of acquisition.

These difficulties can range from immature productions of specific sounds to difficulties with all aspects of articulation which can have a significant impact on the ability of others to understand what they are saying (intelligibility).


It is sometimes known as developmental verbal dyspraxia (DVD) and is also known as apraxia of speech or an oral motor planning disorder.  It is not a muscle disorder.  It is as if the brain is telling the muscles used for speech what to do and the messages are getting ‘scrambled’.  It results in the child’s speech being difficult to understand.  They may have slow or halting speech and it may appear that they are struggling to talk.