Is Your Child’s Speech and Language Developing at Its Own Pace? 

When parents are being told that every child is unique and that language develops at a different rate for each individual, how should parents know if their child is experiencing language delays?   

How do parents identify a language delay? 

Although children acquire language at their own rate due to individual differences, it’s crucial for parents to be aware of certain developmental milestones that children are expected to achieve at specific ages. 

For instance, at 18 months, children are expected to be able to use at least 20 words and combine two words to express their wants and needs. Paying attention to whether a child can complete this task helps parents distinguish if they need to proactively assist their children with their development, rather than simply letting them do so independently. 

If children fail to babble, or if they’re able to come up and say fewer words than the expected amount, this can be an indicator that they are late talkers. This might be a manifestation of a speech delay if such an issue persists over the next couple of months although each child acquires language at a different rate due to individual differences in development. 

Language development is closely related to cognitive development in that parents may identify speech problems by testing their children’s cognitive skills. Suppose a child can perform well in cognitive-related activities, such as puzzles and matching similar shapes and pictures but have difficulty communicating?  This may indicate red flags related to possible language problems. 

How should parents intervene?  

Parents diligence about their children’s speech and language skills can help with interventions as early as possible.  It’s essential that once parents observe and suspect their child is encountering a possible speech and language delay, consulting a doctor for a referral for an evaluation should be their first priority. Since the causes of language delays differ from child to child, a Speech-Language Pathologist must help identify the cause and provide parents with suitable interventions for their specific case. 

Sometimes children may develop a delay in their language development due to their environment and the lack of opportunities for brain and language stimulation. There are materials that can help parents proactively help their children develop communication skills. For instance, author and speech-language pathologist Jo Ann Gramlich published books containing interactive activities to enhance children’s language development from birth through age five. Her book titles include Talk, Play, And Read With Me Mommy, Talk, Play, And Read With Me Daddy, and Talk, Play, And Read With Me Mommy Interactive eBook.    

 Language delays may be caused by the lack of engagement in a child’s environment. Therefore, a language rich environment along with specific techniques will help encourage and stimulate your child’s language growth and growing brain.  Parents must be aware and observe both the child and his or her environment to ensure effective speech and language development.

According to the book Talk, Play, and Read with Me Mommy by author Jo Ann Gramlich, children acquire language at different rates given their differences. However, parents need to remember that children should develop particular behaviors from birth to the age of five despite this fact. Some children may develop these abilities earlier than others. Still, parents should consider the essential thing that these milestones should occur for parents to ensure that their children are growing on time.


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