When And How To Handle Speech Delays In Your Child

After your baby is born, you eagerly wait for him/her to say the precious words like ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’. Your baby’s first words are always memorable to you. As they start growing, they start uttering different sounds and syllables, you are eager to listen to them talk. Their broken sentences, first rhymes or saying their names were probably the cutest things, you will hear in your life.

But, not all babies achieve their speech milestones at the same time. Generally, by the age of 1 year, they should be able to say 1 or 2 words, understand and respond to waving and hello or to their names. By 18 months or 2 years, they should be able say combination of 2 words and by the age of 3 years, a combination of 3 word sentences. However, there can a delay of a couple of months, but if you feel there is a considerable delay, you might want to check with your doctor.

Warning Signs Of Speech Delay:

You need to be worried if –

  • Your baby is not saying mock sentences or babbling by the age of 1 year. He/She is not responding to your sentences and instructions at all.
  • He/She is not speaking a single word by the age of 18 months.
  • He/she is only saying a few words or not willing to speak by the age of 2 years. If they are mostly communicating through gestures or sounds.
  • If he/she is still using single syllables or dropping final consonants, while speaking by the age of 2 and a half years
  • By the age of 3 years, he/she is still using simple 2 word sentences. Strangers are not able to understand what they are saying.

Reasons For Speech Delay:

Though, there might be no specific reason for speech delays, sometimes it could be hereditary or even temperamental. Some of the reasons for speech delay can be:

Gender:

Boys are said to develop speech later than girls. At the age of 16 months, boys use around 30 words on an average, while girls use 50.

Premature Birth:

Premature babies tend to reach milestones differently. Speech is one such where they either reach on time or a few months later.

Multiple Babies:

Experts feel that as many as 50% of all multiples have language delay. Premature birth, low birth weight, etc. can be causes of speech delay.

There can be other causes like reaching other milestones before learning to speak.

Remedies For Speech Delay:

If you notice any signs of speech delay, immediately contact the doctor. Opt for speech therapy if needed. Consult a speech-language pathologist. Read to them aloud, sing songs, etc., where they are able to understand and pick things up. You need not compare or get disheartened if there is a speech delay in your child. You need to be their greatest support and motivation in the process.

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