If your child is not making any effort to talk or communicate with you, it’s normal to be worried. Here’s what all parents should know about kids and speech delay.
What is Normal?
The majority of kids start to speak at least one word by the age of one, and before the age of three are expected to use three-word combinations when forming sentences. There seems to be more evidence of boys developing speech at a later time than their female counterparts.
Sometimes, children who are born into multi-lingual families often need more time to process the different languages, so appear to be slow talkers. This is completely normal. Once they are able to put individuals in their respective “slots” their brain can then manage and sort out which language to speak to which person.
When to Be Concerned:
- Children who are hearing-impaired or have chronic ear infections will experience speech delay. You can have your pediatrician check your child’s hearing abilities with standard tests.
- If your child has passed the 18-month mark and hasn’t attempted to talk yet.
- If your child is two-and-a-half and uses only single syllables or grunts to communicate.
- If they do not seem to be improving with forming sentences at three years old.
- Other speech milestones are not meet in accordance with this timeline.
How to Help Kids Develop During Speech Delay
As parents and caretakers, you can encourage communication by the following:
- Let kids speak for themselves rather than answering for them every time. For example, “What would you like now?” instead of “Would you like your snack now?”
- Try free play that encourages speech development includes blowing bubbles, playing musical instruments, or toy phones.
- Read aloud often to your child
- Converse often with your child
- Sing your child to sleep, or upon waking up.
Treat each child with patience and understanding. If you are overly concerned, a simple trip to the pediatrician may help soothe some anxiety.