Every child develops at his or her own pace. However, there are developmental milestones that your child should meet. If your child doesn’t meet them by a certain age, it could be a cause for concern. One of these areas is speech development. The reality is that some children are more reserved than others, so it can be difficult for a parent to know if something is wrong.
CAUSES OF SPEECH DELAYS
Speech delays in children can be caused by a variety of reasons. Your child could have an oral impairment, such as problems with the tongue or palate (the roof of the mouth). A short frenulum (the fold beneath the tongue) can also cause speech issues as it can limit tongue movement, preventing your child from speaking properly. Many children have speech delays because of oral-motor problems. This means they have difficulty coordinating their lips and tongues to make speech sounds. Finally, speech delays can also be caused by hearing problems. Without good hearing, a child will not get a good understanding of sounds, which makes it difficult to imitate them.
So, how do you know if your child needs speech therapy, and at what age should speech therapy begin?
WHEN TO SEEK A SPEECH THERAPIST
At as early as three months of age, babies with developmental delays begin to show signs. While it may seem too early to see a speech therapist, it’s never too early to monitor signs. If you notice any concerns, talk to your child’s pediatrician.
BY 12 MONTHS OF AGE
If your child doesn’t react when being spoken to, it could be a sign that you need to see a specialist. By 12 months of age, your child should be able to use some gestures, such as pointing, waving, and nodding. These are signs that your child understands communication and has rudimentary skills on how to communicate with you.
BY 24 MONTHS OF AGE
By 2 years of age, a child should have already spoken their first words. Most children will be able to string a couple of words together, such as “one more” or “play toy.” If your child isn’t vocalizing and relies on gestures to communicate instead, you should see a specialist. Another sign is if your child does not speak independently without you instructing them to speak. Finally, pay attention to your child’s voice. If you notice a raspy or nasally sound when they speak, it may be a sign that something is off.
AGE 3 AND BEYOND
By this point, your child should be able to speak a lot of words. You should understand about 75% of what your child says. If it is difficult for you to understand your child’s speech at this point, talk to a specialist.
SPEECH PATHOLOGY SERVICES IN WOOSTER, OHIO
If you notice your child missing milestones in speech development, the speech pathologists at Wooster Community Hospital can provide top-quality speech therapy to help your child.
To find out more about the speech therapy services we provide at Wooster Community Hospital, call (330) 263-8144. We look forward to speaking with you soon about our speech pathology services!