From babies, toddlers, kids, teens, and into our adult lives, language plays a critical role in development. Sometimes this process may happen slower in comparison to peers. Speech and language delays may be the culprit of blame. As parents, we want to make sure that our kids are prepared for all that language has to offer them. We’ll look at the fundamental aspects of language in the first year so you know what to expect up until the first word is spoken. Let’s also dig into the nitty-gritty of speech and language delays so parents will know how to help.
As you watch your tiny tyke transform into a talkative toddler, you will notice certain patterns as they grow. From 2 – 3 months your baby will be cooing, which means they are vocalizing some vowel sounds such as -oo and -ah as you smile and engage in reply to those coos. Smiles along with longer cooing are sure to follow with those exchanges. Around 6 months, your baby will take on some consonants in their sound repertoires such as m, b, n, or d. This production of sound is known as babbling. It’s not quite a full word, but we’re getting there!
As your baby continues practicing with their valuable voice, you will hear them conquer their first word between 9 – 12 months. Your baby is well on their way to becoming a talking king or queen! Babies acquire major foundations for communication in the first year, but speech or language delays can be persistent during the process. As a parent, you will want to be well armed in detecting the signs of a speech and language delay, always remembering that language is an interactive exchange.
Speech and Language Delays
Delays in speech and language mean that your child is developing their skills slower than normal in comparison to peers. Although speech and language have similar components, they are not the same thing. Speech includes how words and sounds are said, including articulation, fluency, and voice. On the other hand, language is a system of how we communicate ideas. Even non-verbal expressions and gestures are considered to be language. When we see speech delays, ideas may be clear but pronunciation can be difficult to understand. Children with language delays might pronounce words well, but stringing words together or understanding them is a challenge. It can also mean that reading and writing difficulties exist.
The causes of speech and language delays vary widely depending on the individual. Just to name a few, hearing loss, learning disorders like dyslexia, or cerebral palsy can be causes. Oral impairments can cause speech and language delays brought on by physical attributes like with the roof of the mouth or the tongue. In understanding that there is more than one cause, you will definitely want to make sure that you seek help if you suspect anything fishy happening with your kiddo’s language or speech.
Let’s Take a Word Bath
We know it sounds silly, but shower your child with language. Parents can always help their kiddo develop and improve upon skills by exposing them to a variety of different wordy contexts. Read to them at night. Rinse breakfast and dinner time with talking. Sing to them. Do whatever it takes to expose them to a life full of language. Interacting in real-world scenarios will go a lot further than hoping that TV or other technologies will teach them what they need to know. Your baby wants to hear from you. Of course, parents will need extra assistance if there are signs of speech and language delays. Speech therapists are superheroes when it comes to challenges with language and speech. To infinity and beyond!
We offer speech therapy at our Prescott, Prescott Valley and Cottonwood locations. Learn more about speech therapy’s role in development.