Parents are often excited about the moments when kids reach the respective developmental milestones as they grow up.
But when your child does not speak even after completing 2 years of age, it becomes a subject of worry.
Is your child able to listen to sounds? Can your child understand what you are saying? Can your child recognise your voice?
As a parent, you should ask yourself all these questions. In this article, we will try answering some of those queries.
- What are the Normal Developmental Milestones of Speech?
A child starts babbling at around 6 months and by the age of 1, he/she can speak a word a two. Usually they start by saying their parent’s name like ‘mama’ or ‘papa’, and can understand basic words.
– 1 to 2 months: They start recognising sounds around. They can hear you but maybe cannot exactly spot the source.
– 3 to 4 months: They start Cooing (their first sound)
– At around 4 months: They start Babbling and Laughing
– 6 to 7 months: They speak in Monosyllables like “pa”, “ma”, “da”
– 8 to 9 months: They speak in Bi-syllables like “dada’, “mama”, “papa”
– By the age of 1 (12 months): They start saying words together and also understand the meaning of it
– By 18 to 22 months: They can understand and speak small commands like “give water”, “hold me up”
– By 2 years(24 months) of age: They start saying proper words and two-word sentences
Please Note: Every child has a different ability, so they maybe early or a bit late in achieving the milestones. But, if they are too late, please consult a pediatrician as soon as you can.
- How can I know if my child has any speech impairments?
– If any of the above milestones are delayed or not yet occurred.
– If your child does not respond, detect or understand any sound. Because if your child has any hearing impairment, they cannot hear sounds and hence cannot speak.
– Your child can hear, but has issues following the sound, that is, they cannot judge where the sound is coming from.
– If your child does not respond or look at you when you say his/her name.
– Your child is cooing or babbling, but not yet saying any monosyllables.
– Your kid is still saying monosyllables or bi-syllables at the age of 2 or more, he/she is limited to certain mono or bi-syllables.
– Your child cannot understand anything you are saying, cannot concentrate on you or is not maintaining eye contact. These can be signs of Autism.
– Your child is trying to express something by banging on something or pointing towards something they want.
– If your child has completed all milestones till age of 2, except for speech and language milestone.
- What can I do to stimulate speech in my child?
– Avoid over-exposure to screens by reducing screen time.
– Your child should not be introduced to digital media at such a young age as it would rather encourage him/her to be silent because it is not an interactive medium. If your child has access to digital media, stop it immediately.
– Keep on talking to them. Interaction is the key. Talk more and communicate by telling them different incidents and stories. Even if your child cannot understand it, listening to the conversation will stimulate speech in them.
– Keep on repeating certain basic words. Introduce them to all the family members in the house on a daily basis, make sure they talk to the child as well. Avoid using complicated words.
– Multiple languages can confuse the child as different languages have different accents and words. Talk in a single language.
– Talk with actions and words both. After all, actions speak louder than words!
– If your child needs something, make sure he asks for it verbally. If he points at an object like a toy or maybe pointing towards water, DO NOT hand it to them even if they cry. Force him/her to speak up. Provoke your child to talk when he/she needs a thing desperately.
- What should I do when I notice symptoms?
– Consult a pediatrician or speech therapist if you notice any symptoms.
– Make sure you note all the developmental milestones of your kid since birth, so that you can tell the concerned professional about it. It helps in making the assessment more accurate.
– Keep on communicating with your child. Do not give up hopes if your kid is not speaking.
– You should not rely totally on therapy and rehabilitation. At home, whenever you get time, research more about speech impairments and let your family know about it too. A whole effort is worth when the entire family participates in the process.
– Do not get frustrated if they make certain sounds continuously, rather pacify them by playing with them or talking to them.
As you can see, most of the above measures, included the key word TALKING. The reason behind it is, if your child can hear you talk by looking at your moving lips, they have the ability to mimic those actions and they may try to talk by themselves.
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