When children are still babies, they can communicate when they smile, cry or respond in ways that only their parents can understand. They can start to speak between 10 and 15 months. At around 18 months, they can pick up more words and form sentences.
However, children develop at different rates, so there is no set age to determine when a child should start speaking. Some children start talking early, while some children experience a temporary language delay.
But if children are around three or older and still have difficulty pronouncing common words, like sister or grandma, it will be a good idea to have them evaluated by the experts, and undergo speech therapy for children, if necessary.
What to watch out for when there are delays in language development
It is vital to diagnose a speech-language disorder as early as possible. It will not do any good if you wait until your child is five or six before getting an evaluation. When your child reaches school age, a speech disorder will affect their social and academic well-being. At this age, they will have a more difficult time catching up with other children of the same age.
Here are some of the things to do for children suspected with a speech or language disorder.
Check their verbal development
When children reach three, they should be able to pronounce D, N and T, and other consonants. Someone familiar to them, like a parent or caregiver, can understand 75 percent of their speech. When they reach age five, they should be able to clearly say most speech sounds.
You will notice a language delay if children do not speak much or do not speak at all. A two-year-old child can approximately say 50 words and combine some words to communicate better.
Bring them to a pediatrician
There are some reasons why children’s speech development is delayed. If this is the case, bring them to a pediatrician first. They should have a hearing test to check if they have multiple ear infections. If they suffer from intermittent or temporary hearing loss, it will be difficult for them to correctly verbalize sounds. If a developmental or neurological issue causes the disorder with an unknown cause, the pediatrician can recommend bringing them to a speech therapist.
Practice speaking at home
A speech therapist can provide learning materials for children having difficulty speaking to create different sounds. In between speech therapy sessions, it is essential to practice at home. The therapist can give parents a list of words to practice or teach games to help the children produce words and sounds. The parent or caregiver can imitate the way they create sounds. Children will start imitating the adult, thinking it is a game. Several methods are available to help children speak correctly, according to the therapist’s evaluation.
Children may naturally take time to speak. However, if the delay is due to some other reasons, ensure that they receive an evaluation from a speech therapist and the necessary expert intervention.