“Communication is the key to human interaction” -Amanda Schaumburgh, SLP
Becoming a new parent is the journey of a lifetime. From hearing their first breath, to watching their first steps, there are many “firsts” that will fill you with a sense of awe and amazement. Of course, one of the most exciting moments in the lives of new parents is hearing that first word. Not only is it a sign of growth and development, it’s typically pretty adorable!
While parenting does come with many exciting moments, it comes with a few challenges as well. For example, what if that first word never comes, or maybe it comes later than expected? Despite the fact that children develop at different rates, certain linguistic events are expected to happen within a particular time frame. When a child’s ability to communicate seems delayed, new parents are prone to start experiencing significant worries. Although these fears are completely understandable, there is no need to panic. There are professionals out there who can help.
If your child experiencing a delay in his or her speaking abilities, it may be time to see a Speech Language Pathologist. If you are unfamiliar with the term, these are licensed professionals who deal with speech impediments. Through intensive coaching and therapy, a speech pathologist can figure out the underlying cause of a child's inability to meet their speech milestones. If you would like to learn more about delayed speech and important speech milestones, we have developed this article. Here, we will highlight some of the warning signs that your child may benefit from a little extra help.
Lack of Social Interaction
Most parents look forward to their child reaching new milestones, especially when that child is an infant. Because each day brings something new, even the smallest achievements seem miraculous. It is particularly fascinating to watch you new bundle of joy interact with friends and family. As your baby grows, here are some developments you have to look forward to:
1. From 0-3 months: you should notice that your baby responds with smiles and coo-ing.
2. From 7-12 months: you will hear your baby react with pointing and clapping.
3. From 7-24 months: you should notice your child gaining the ability to respond to your talking.
If your child has passed these benchmarks without noticeable development of the above mentioned skills, a speech therapist will be able to uncover the underlying cause. Remember, early detection is always beneficial. If you are unsure whether or not your child is experiencing a delay that might indicate a speech disability, take him or her in to be checked out by a professional.
Inability to Understand Your Child
Studies have shown that between 18 and 24 months, parents should be able to understand what their children are trying to convey to them. Note: this does not mean your child will have a perfect vocabulary by age 2; we cannot stress that enough. Your child is expected, and even encouraged to make mistakes in syntax and diction. By making mistakes, your child is learning which structures are correct.
English is a difficult language, but, as linguist Noam Chomsky asserts, we are all born with a universal grammar. Simply stated, a universal grammar is the innate ability to learn language. By age two, if your child has not yet found his or her voice, seeking a speech therapist is highly encouraged. Every child has the ability to speak a language effectively. With that being said, about 1 in 12 children has some sort of speech related disorder. The need for extra coaching is quite common, and will produce significant results.
Difficulties With Sound Production
Between the ages of two and three, you should see significant developments in your child’s speaking abilities. Around this time, you may also start to notice that your child has difficulties producing certain sounds. Before you start to worry, remember that some sounds are more difficult to make than others.
For example, if your child has a hard time with trilling (rolling) their “r’s,” this is to be expected. On the other hand, if your child is experiencing difficulties with the bilabials, i.e the sounds P,B,K,G etc., it may be time to start seeking the help of a speech pathologist. To find out whether your child’s ability to produce correct sounds is further behind than average, check out some research on child language acquisition.
If you feel that your child is struggling to keep up, or has yet to reach the milestones that we have mentioned. Check out the Speech Pathologist at Oakville Wellness. Their SLP will work with your child on a wide range of needs and ensure that he or she leaves confident in their abilities to succeed.