Non-speaking child. 2. Speech delay causes

Last Updated on October 10, 2023

Speech delay causes can be physiological, intellectual, psychological and social. The first part was about speech development and speech delay symptoms by age. Each of these symptoms means a specific disease or several diseases. I can hardly name all of them, as some of them are very specific. I will try to combine them into groups.

Once you’ve supposed what your child’s speech delay causes might be, go on to Part 3 – Speech delay treatment in Germany.

Speech delay by children. Part 1. Norm and problems
Non-Speaking child. 3. Speech delay treatment in Germany
part 4 Where you can find help. Speech therapist in Germany
Bilingual children. 1
German primary school. Orientation. Must and can – school obligation
Deutsch in German primary schools. Grades 1-2

1. Problems with hearing

absence, impaired hearing,
water in the ear,
internal noise that makes it difficult to understand words completely,
problems with distinguishing words by hearing

If the child doesn’t hear it is not that hard to notice or suspect. German pediatricians test hearing after birth and at regular check-ups, so this is likely to be noticed early enough.

The difficulty of recognizing words by hearing is more difficult to determine. But with the help of tests for distinguishing words that differ only in one letter, this can be determined / suspected even by parents.

You should find the simple words, that differ only in one letter. Firstly you must be sure, that the child knows these words – ask to show in the picture. Now the word is pronounced in a whisper, the mouth is closed with a sheet of paper.

The prognosis is often positive if detected early. If earlier children with hearing impairments had only one option – the sign language, now they walk with hearing aids and live normally in society. Sometimes they can sogar go to regular school.

What to do

2. Problems with jaw, mouth, larynx, vocal cords

Many of them are visible (or heard by ear – a strange voice) already at an early age. The dentist can also tell if there are any problems with the jaw. These children may also have problems with eating and drinking. But some decease are revealed only with a detailed examination of the phoniatrician. I know a boy, that received diagnosis only before the 1. grade of primary school (he has a problem with jaw).

The prognosis depends on the size of the problem and how much surgery can correct it.

3. Neurological, mental and intellectual speech delay causes

Down syndrome,
fragile chromosome syndrome,
Asperger’s syndrome,
ADHS (attention deficit disorder),
stuttering (lack of coordination in the brain),
silence due to severe psychological trauma (mutism) and other problems.

Down syndrome is detected early and there is a complex of other problems that parents face at an early age, that is, there is usually no problem with the diagnosis.

Fragile X syndrome can be overlooked, as it can be of varying severity. Typical signs: high forehead, elongated face, protruding ears, deep-set eyes. The syndrome is accompanied by problems of intelligence and speech (depending on the severity – and other problems). In a speech therapy kindergarten in each group every year there are at least two or three such children, they are easy to identify by their appearance.


Autism can be two types: with a loss of intelligence or with normal intelligence. First type is quickly diagnosed.

The degree of loss of socialization is also different. Severe degree, with the impossibility of contact, attacks of fear or aggression at the age of 1.5-3 years is also difficult to overlook.

All the many forms and degrees of milder variants are referred to as “autism spectrum disorders.”

The most widely heard is Asperger’s syndrome. These children can be almost normal people who do not understand other people’s behavior or recognize feelings and cannot respond correctly. In this form, the problem is often “outgrown” – that is, they can learn to respond as expected of them, thanks to the analysis of the behavior of others – not emotional, but intellectual.

Aspis have sometimes also a variant of “selective mutismus”. When they are emotionally overwhelmed, experiencing strong emotions, they may not be able to pronounce the words. Some autists can not speak at all.

Asperger’s syndrome without outdated clichés
Asperger Syndrome empathy, speech and emotions
Asperger autism symptoms by age. Aspies in Germany


Children with attention deficit disorder are diagnosed due to the lack of this very attention – the inability to concentrate even on what they love (unlike Aspergers, who can be completely wild, naughty and hyperactive, but can focus on what they need).
Lack of attention also affects speech. They misunderstand, rearrange words, and have a limited vocabulary. And at an older age, it can be dysgraphia or dyslexia.

The prognosis for the latter two, if intelligence is at a normal level: a lot, a lot, a lot of … patience. There is a significant chance that the child will outgrow. That is, it will not be cured, but it will be able to adapt to society.

What to do

4. Aphasia, dysarthria

Damage to the brain due to hemorrhage or other diseases, which leads to the loss of some of the speech abilities or damage to the facial nerves and impaired coordination of the mouth. It usually occurs in adults, in children – due to serious diseases, such as cerebral palsy.

5. Unknown (alleged) speech delay causes

As the doctors themselves say, “science is not quite in the know yet.”

It is called
Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (Verbale Entwicklungsdyspraxie – VED)
Specific Language Impairment
and Cluttering (Poltern)

It is assumed that the cause is genetic (or during birth) damage to the speech area of ​​the brain – in dyspraxia. Or an abnormally small volume of this zone – in a specific disorder.

In the last year, the question arose about the stimulation of birth with pills. There is a significant group of parents who believe that their children have suffered from them, including myself. I am sure that a lack of oxygen because of overstimulation was the cause of dyspraxia of my son.

The prognosis is not very happy: it is a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of … work with hope for the best.

6. Non-medical speech delay causes

There is, of course, pedagogical neglect and families with social problems. But such parents do not search in the Internet what is wrong with the child. We are much more concerned with bilingualism as a cause of speech delay.

The main reason for the appearance of bilingual children in our speech therapy kindergarten is a mess in the speech of parents. If the mother says mixing mother language and German: “And she said: Ich hab schon Teig gekauft and then ran down the Straße to the nearest Laden to buy another Kiste of apples,” then the child does not have very many chances of a normal speech in either of the two languages.

If foreign parents separate the languages, then the child will most often have a normal development of the mother language and a deficit of German. This is not a problem of speech therapy, but of learning. Of course, it’s not bad to have a speech therapist: put the grammar in place or practice the sounds – but not necessarily.

Next – what to do with non-speaking child in Germany
part 4 Where you can find help. Speech therapist in Germany

All about bilingualism – part 1 (strategy and rules), part 2 (problems by age).

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