Answers To Common Questions About Speech Milestones
It was around his second birthday when I started to be concerned about my child hitting his speech milestones and his language development. I compared his vocabulary to that of his peers and I thought for sure he was behind on the talking timeline. It felt like EVERY other two year old was talking more than he was, some communicating in complete sentences! I now know that I’m not alone. It’s common for parents to be concerned about early speech development. According to the NIH (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders), “The first 3 years of life, when the brain is developing and maturing, is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. These skills develop best in a world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others.There appears to be critical periods for speech and language development in infants and young children when the brain is best able to absorb language. If these critical periods are allowed to pass without exposure to language, it will be more difficult to learn.”
Mommy Mafia asked Karen Waldrop, a Speech-Language Pathologist and owner of Kids Therapy Works (she’s a Mafia Mommy too!) questions regarding speech development and what specific language milestones your child should be reaching and when you might have a reason to seek a professional opinion.
Commonly Asked Questions About Child Speech Milestones and Speech Development
Do babies understand when we talk to them?
Babies do not understand the meaning of all the words we say at first. Babies learn about sounds and words when we talk to them. Talk to your baby often while you are bathing, feeding or changing him or her. Your baby will learn about language from hearing you talk.
When should my child start talking?
Regardless if you have a girl or a boy, children start talking by the age of 1. Refer to the Speech and Language Milestone Chart of developmental norms for children ages 1-5 years old.
At which age should my child master a particular sound?
The initial sounds of “b”, “d”, “m” come first, before age two. See this chart on Speech Sound Development.
Can a smart child have a speech problem?
Yes. Any child can have a speech or language problem. It does not mean that the child is less intelligent.
If we speak more than one language at home, will it cause our child to have a speech or language problem?
No. A child usually says his or her first words around the same age, no matter how many languages are spoken in the house. Research has demonstrated that encouraging first language use at home promotes the development of good language skills in the first language. When a child has a good understanding of their first language and is able to use their first language well to communicate, these strong language skills will help them learn a second language. Studies have shown that children with a strong language base have greater success in school. At Kids Therapy Works, we encourage parents to use their first language to talk to their children.
Should I worry if my child stutters?
Children often repeat words or phrases when they learn to talk. This is normal for most children between 2 and 5 years old. Your child may do this for a few days or more. However if you are worried about whether your child stutters, call Kids Therapy Works at (954) 599-4185.
Is it common for younger children in families not to talk?
Sometimes younger children find that they can make themselves understood by making gestures and noises instead of words. Or, older children may speak for younger ones. Parents should make sure that younger children are encouraged to talk just as much as the older ones.
Will my child grow out of a speech or language problem?
Some children do grow out of a speech or language problem. It is best not to wait and see. The sooner a problem is discovered, the sooner we can begin to do something to help.
If I am concerned about my child’s speech development, should I wait until my child starts school?
No. If you think your child may have a problem, call right away. It is better to treat a speech or language problem early. Your child will have more time to develop the skills needed at school.
Kids Therapy Works‘ team of professionals consists of experienced speech, occupational & physical therapists that have specialized training in Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT), Interactive Metronome, Sensory Integration (SI), behavior intervention, auditory processing, reading, handwriting, early intervention, feeding & oral motor therapy, purposeful play skills & activities of daily living. Kids Therapy Works also provides occupational & physical therapies in addition to speech.