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Overview of speech and language delay or disorder

FDP mother baby and tabletAll children develop differently, and there can be quite a variation in how old they are when they reach different speech and language milestones. But they do generally follow a predictable pattern.

A child with a speech and language delay reaches speech and language milestones more slowly than most children.

A child with a speech and language disorder doesn't follow the usual course of speech and language development in one or more areas.

Around 10 to 15% of New Zealand children may have some difficulties learning to talk. These can sometimes be part of a more general development delay.

Children with speech and language delay or disorder may have one or more of the following problems:

On the next page: Diagnosing a speech & language delay or disorder

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2020.

Image courtesy of Jomphong at

Page reference: 795066

Review key: HISCD-79694