Children understand more words (receptive language) than they use (expressive language). Babies may not understand the meaning of our words at first, but they understand our tone of voice and observe their surroundings. Your baby is learning that sounds become words, so use your language, tone of voice, and facial expressions to help them along their learning journey.
The most important consideration in helping develop speech and language is personal interaction. Any toy or activity can be used as an implement for learning, but it is the person-to-person contact that makes the difference.
We learn to talk by listening to and observing other people. Conversation is a social experience, with give and take. So join in and play! Use whatever toys your child enjoys and engage. Talk about what you’re doing together. Use short simple sentences. Then wait, and listen to your child communicate in his own way. Scientific evidence supports the fact that this kind of experience is the best foundation for developing words and sentences.
Children learn at their own speed, and each child is different. To help determine if your child is meeting communication and language milestones, we have resources available for you.
Signs that your child might need a speech therapist can be subtle. To learn about some of the red flags, take our online quiz to see where your child is as it pertains to speech and language milestones. Take the quiz here.
Early intervention with speech therapy has been proven to benefit children who are diagnosed with a speech and language impairment. Early Intervention can mold a child's developmental speech and language path and improve outcomes, both for children and their families.
Simple changes in your daily routine can lay the foundation for encouraging and building communication. At Speech Sisters, we will help you to seamlessly tie these techniques into your everyday activities, making life as a mom easy while your child builds language and uses more words! We can help your child climb the language ladder.
While speech and language development are crucial to a child’s future academic success, it doesn’t mean that language delays assure academic frustration and poor outcomes. If children with language development delays receive assistance from a Speech–Language Pathologist early on (before kindergarten), they can catch up with their peers. Research has shown that children who reach developmental language milestones earlier are more likely to do better academically later in life. So again, early intervention is key to promoting academic success.
Always trust your instincts; you are with your child the most. Some may say that a child will “outgrow” a speech or language delay, and in some cases this is true. But it is impossible to know which children will outgrow their delay and which will need support from a speech-language therapist. Pursuing early intervention allows you to find the specific answers you need through a speech and language evaluation. The result will be a diagnosis and recommendation for therapy services if needed.
Parents should be intentional about encouraging their younger children to speak as much as the older children. It’s easy to overlook! Early signs of language delay are important for all children, regardless of birth order.
No, it is never too early for a child to receive support.
There is no easy answer. But I can tell you what doesn’t cause speech/language delays–you! As a parent, you should not feel guilty if your child is struggling to develop a certain skill. Sometimes speech/language delays can be the result of an underlying medical issue (i.e. hearing loss) or an undiagnosed condition, such as autism. But oftentimes it’s just the way the child is wired. Their brain needs help learning how to effectively communicate.
Please note: If we say a child needs help with their communication skills, we are NOT implying that they aren’t smart! This is a common misconception. Many very bright children need help with speech/language. In fact, many students classified as “gifted” also attend speech therapy.
In our experience, many delayed talkers who finally make attempts to speak are difficult to understand. It sounds like gibberish! All young children make some errors in pronunciation–some are typical for their age and some are not. Children usually outgrow most articulation errors on their own by age three. To determine whether the “gibberish” your child is making reflects common pronunciation errors and whether speech therapy is recommended, make an appointment with a speech-language pathologist.
Regression is not a typical part of natural development, but it can occur for different reasons. Most of the time regression lasts for just a short time.
For example, a child might become ill and have to stay in bed rather than engaging in learning activities. I have seen minor regression when our clients have been ill for an extended time, but soon they're back to where they started and are moving forward again. Another example is when a new baby is born into the family. Since the baby gets a lot of attention by crying, the older child might cry instead of using words.
Regression can also be the result of a stressor affecting family life. Rest assured that these examples of regression are temporary and can be an indicator that something else is going on. It’s a good idea to talk to a professional about any regression you’ve noticed.
A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) or Speech Therapist is an expert in language and communication. SLPs work with people of all ages, from babies to adults. We provide assessment and treatment in the following five areas: Articulation, Language/Literacy, Social Communication, Voice, Fluency and Feeding/Swallowing.
Call a professional. Speech/Language Pathologists have a master’s degree specifically in speech and language development. Many parents have had their concerns shrugged off by friends, family members, or even their pediatrician. Friends and family are well-meaning, but they aren’t the experts. We cannot count the number of times parents have confided in us that they regretted not seeking help earlier. If you are concerned, trust your gut and seek the advice of a professional. Many speech/language clinics are happy to provide complementary screenings/consultations, to hear your concerns, and to give their opinion as to whether or not an evaluation would be beneficial for your child.
According to Foundation Therapy Services, Inc. Communication Developmental Milestone Red Flags to watch for include but are not limited to the following:
- At 6 months my child does not laugh, squeal or look toward sounds.
- At 9 months my child has limited or no babbling or does not indicate when they are happy or upset.
- At 12 months my child does not point to objects or use gestures such as waving or shaking head.
- At 15 months my child has not spoken their first words and does not respond to “no” or “bye bye.”
- At 18 months my child does not speak at least 6-10 words consistently.
- At 20 months my child does not use at least 6 consonant sounds or does not hear well or discriminate between sounds.
- At 24 months my child has a vocabulary of less than 50 words or has decreased interest in social interactions.
- At 36 months strangers have difficulty understanding my child or my child uses simple sentences.
We offer a variety of free resources to help parents build confidence in developing speech and language for their little one. You can find our blogs here.
Children develop at their own pace. One child's word count will not be the same as that of another child of the same age. If you have concerns that your little one should be saying more words, check out our milestone checklist here for next steps.
No. Being exposed to many languages will make no difference as to when your child begins to talk as compared to children who are learning a single language. It is best to keep languages separate rather than combining them in a conversation
Speak to your child in YOUR strongest language so he has a good language model.