Some children start speaking as early as six to nine months, while others have yet to utter a word by the age of two. It can be hard to know what to do when there are no other signs of developmental delays. Speech therapy can be expensive and your child may catch up any time. If you feel like your child may be behind, but are not sure what to do, you are not alone.
Understanding Bench Marks
When you visit with your doctor for regular check-ups, your doctor can help you to understand whether your child is meeting typical benchmarks, and if not, why. Normally, by their first birthday, most children have started to relate to sounds ion their environment and are trying to replicate those sounds. If your child is looking intently, but not attempting to repeat sounds that are heard, it may be indicative of hearing impairments.
From their first birthday up until they are about 18 months old, most children begin saying words more regularly and understanding those words. Ball, toy, baby, me, are all common words that children begin to say. By the time they turn two, most children can say simple sentences like “baby crying.” Children can usually point to different objects, such as balls, when asked questions like “Where is the ball?”
Seeking Evaluation by a Speech Language Pathologist
If your child is not hitting benchmarks for speech and you suspect a problem, an evaluation by a speech language pathologist may help you to determine the best course of action – if one is needed. Many evaluations show that the child has no impairments, the expectations are simply too high.
If the speech language pathologist determines that speech therapy is needed, a therapist will be recommended and you will be coached on exercises to do at home with your child. Taking action early can help your child to “catch up” before falling too far behind and may help you to catch more serious problems if there are any.