All children have a different way of learning, it all depends on the child and if the child has incapability’s that do not let them develop learning skills as other children would.

Speech delay is when a child’s language is developing in the right sequence, but at a slower rate. Delayed speech is the most common developmental problem. It affects five to ten percent of preschool kids. Many children develop a speech delay because of medical conditions as well, such as ear infections. In doing my research many sites like kidshealth.com and asha.org explain how children may develop these delays and how it may be improved.

In these articles they explain how important it is to detect these delays as early as 9 months. The signs to look for and what steps to take if your child falls into this category.

I found in doing my research as well that children may develop a speech delay due to a frequent amount of ear infections. Children, who suffer from ear infections tend to hear things underwater, they also suffer vocabulary, sentence structure, and social structure and have a hard time speaking. The study that is going to be done is to have a child with speech delay play a word game with a child whose speech is normal. While playing a game like this not only is the child learning new words, but the child is learning how to pronounce words by listening to the child without the delay pronounce it correctly.

It is predicted that when a child with speech delay plays a game that encourages them to identify words and pronounce them, helps their speech skills, but it is better if they are playing with a child who does not have delays. If the child is playing with another child whose verbal skills are more advanced than theirs the child will want to pronounce the word correctly as well. This will bring in what is called reinforcement learning. When the child is playing this game they are constantly learning.


Methods Section


My population of interest is children with speech delays from the ages of 2-4 years of age, and children who have no delays from ages 4-8 years of age. The two subjects that were sampled was a 2-year-old female who recently has tubes placed in her ears, and also has speech delay, and the other was a 6-year-old female with no issues. The condition’s that were set is that one child has a speech delay and other doesn’t. The subjects that were selected were one from each group. The criteria I set were that one child had to have a speech delay and the other one to have one. Children fewer than 2 years old were excluded, and children over the age were excluded. The subjects were motivated to play, by ice cream. When the children finished the game, they would be served ice cream.


I created a game board, and flash cards with color to match the items on the game board. I also had two shopkins characters that I used as game pieces. Each flash card had item, for example an apple, with the word spelled on the bottom. The items I used in the game were everyday things that we use or eat. The children each have a turn and are to try to pronounce the word on the card and if they pronounce the word correctly they are able to put their game piece on that item. Whichever child finishes first will then go to the last piece of the game which is ice cream and cake. The reason I incorporated everyday items/words is so that the child is familiar with the items and is able to pronounce the word in his/her everyday life. The responses were measured by how many words the child with the speech delay said correctly.


The conditions that were created were that if a child did not say the word correctly the other child is able to take that child’s turn to say the word correctly, by doing this, it will construct reinforcing learning for the child with the speech delay. I also did different trials I did one where the children played with an adult to see if the child with the speech delay would learn more or less from the adult, compared to playing alone with the other child. I explain to the children that they had to pick up the card and pronounce the item they say the item on the card, and if they pronounce the item correctly they are able to move on in the game, if not the child has to give up their turn and let the other child take over and if the other child gets it correct they are able to put their piece on the game board. The data I collect was the number of words that were said correct, and the number that were said incorrectly.

In the chart that I have provided in the power point it shows the results of when the children played six games 3 with an adult, and 3 on their own. By showing this, the results showed that the child with the speech delay learned more while playing with the child alone. The child had more correct words, and also repeated more words when they lost their turn to the other child then when playing with the adult. This study showed that children feel more comfortable learning from other children then when playing with adults.

Mean of child with speech delay

Mean of words pronounce correctly while playing with another child that didn’t have a speech delay.

6.33 of words correct, mean of words pronounced wrong 7.66.

results of child with speech delay while an adult playing

4.6 6 of words pronounced correctly 9.33 of words pronounce wrong.

The mean reaction for correct words while playing with a child is

6.33 (SD=2)

the variance is 9.5

Mean reaction for correct words while playing with an adult

4.66 (SD=2)

the variance is 7

Limitations the games have are the following:

  • There is no progress after they have learned all the words in the game.
  • The other child without the delay may get bored and not want to play with the other child anymore.
  • The game can only benefit a child if they want to play.
  • The child may not may not understand the rules and just want to take over the game, and not help the child with the speech delay.

Children, who have speech delay, can learn how to pronounce words when playing games with children who have no speech delay. Having a child who has speech delay play a word game with a child who doesn’t would help the child pronounce words better if they hear it from another child. It is also fun when they are learning and playing with another child. This experiment will help children with speech delays; enhance their vocabulary while also learning to play a game with other children. Many children who have speech delays don’t have a reinforcing way to learn how to pronounce words. By playing this game with other children not only will they be learning new words as they play, but hear the other child say the word correctly and the child will mimic exactly what the other child is saying. Helping children with speech delays by playing this game can help speech therapist; enhance their teaching by introducing this game while having a session. Speech therapist already includes games and blocks while in their session, why not introduce this to help the child with the delay enhance their vocabulary. Sometimes getting through to a child as an adult is hard. This game can make it easier for the child to pronounce words hearing it from another child.


Activities to develop Speech and Language Skills. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://www.icommunicatetherapy.com/child-speech-language/child-speech-language-development/activities-strategies-help-develop-speech-language-skills/

ALEXANDER K.C. LEUNG, M.B.B.S., Alberta Children’s Hospital and University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, & C. PION KAO, M.D., Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (n.d.). Evaluation and Management of the Child with Speech Delay. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0601/p3121.html

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About Robert O. Duncan

I'm an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at City University of New York, with joint appointments in Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience. I also have an appointment as a Visiting Scholar at New York University. My research interests include cognitive neuroscience, functional magnetic resonance imaging, glaucoma, neurodegenerative disorders, attention, learning, memory, educational technology, pedagogy, and developing games for education.

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