Speech delay is a term that professionals use when describing a child who does not start talking at the same time as his or her peers. When you see your child’s friends chattering away but notice that your own child still does not speak, you might worry and wonder if your child needs speech therapy classes. Speech therapy can help kids but only those who really do have language problems. You’ll want to look for signs that your child has a speech delay and isn’t just as a late bloomer.
Little to No Words
Kids usually say their first words before they turn one, and most children know a few words by this age. They tend to use the same words or similar words. Kids may also develop their own words that describe their parents, siblings or favorite toys. If your child isn’t speaking at all by the time he or she turns one, you’ll want to talk with your doctor. Children will typically learn around one new word a week and will begin using those new words over the coming years.
No Response to Questions
If you want to know if your child has a speech delay, ask your son or daughter a simple question. Though babies and young kids may not know how to respond verbally, they will smile, laugh or offer some type of facial expression. Children who do not respond may have a language delay that keeps them from understanding what you meant by that question. Kids usually learn how to follow simple directions and respond to more detailed questions by the time they reach the two year mark, but you child may have a speech delay that keeps him or her from responding.
Cannot Speak in Sentences
As a parent, you look forward to each milestone in your child’s life. Kids slowly develop strong language skills by the time they reach three or four and skills that allow them to put words together to form sentences. They may speak in shorter sentences of just two or three words, but you should praise them for putting those sentences together. Kids who reach the age of two and still cannot put at least two words together and understand what those words mean may suffer from speech delays.
Suffers Language Problems
One way in which parents can determine if their children suffer from speech delays is with a look at other language problems that some kids experience. When your child reaches the age of three, he or she should know how to speak in a clear enough manners that others can understand the words spoken. Ask others if they can understand what your child says and if the words come through clearly. The South West Kids Clinic and programs offered by other facilities can help kids who have a stutter or other conditions that prevent them from speaking the way they need to before going to school.
Children develop at different rates, which is why you shouldn’t worry if some of your child’s friends starts speaking or putting sentences together before your own child does. Checking your child for some of the signs of a speech delay can help you decide when to put your child into a special program or school.