Watching your child grow and develop new skills is one of the great joys of parenting.
From your little one’s first steps to building their tallest block towers, it can be a wonderful experience to be along for the ride.
When it comes to speech and language development, though, it’s not uncommon for toddlers to experience some delays.
This can happen as a result of a hearing issue, a developmental disability, or a variety of other factors.
Because of the variety of possible causes, it’s important to seek early intervention with speech therapy if your child is experiencing difficulties with their language and speech skills.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the signs that your child could benefit from speech therapy so that you know what to look out for to help stay on top of their needs.
When It’s Just Baby Babble
Young children will spend a lot of time just learning how to make sounds.
Generally, if your child is making sounds and word fragments and they’re below a year old, you don’t have to worry.
However, they should at least be babbling.
A child who isn’t making sounds at all by four to seven months may have an underlying issue with their language skills or their hearing.
If this is the case seeing a speech therapist for children may be helpful to find the underlying issue and address it as early as possible.
When You Should See A Speech Therapist For Kids
Different treatment may have different levels of effectiveness depending on the underlying cause of a speech delay.
In many cases, a speech therapist can be helpful to diagnose and offer treatments for your child’s language and speech issues.
Let’s talk a little but about some of the signs that may mean it’s time for you to bring your child to see a speech therapist.
1. They Don’t Gesture Before Speaking
Even before children start to communicate with speech, they start communicating in other ways.
Gestures such as waving and pointing to direct the attention of others are often among the first signs of intentional communication from children.
If your child isn’t starting to gesture to communicate by seven to twelve months of age, that can be a sign of a possible language disorder.
At this point, it’s a good idea to consult a speech therapist about what some helpful next steps may be for you and your child.
2. They Don’t Understand Verbal Requests
By the age of twelve to twenty four months, a child should be able to follow basic requests.
Though your child may not be able to put together full sentences of their own at this point, they should be able to respond to simple requests from you such as “pass me a block”.
Some toddlers just have a stubborn streak, and may understand what you’re asking but choose not to listen, and that’s a different concern.
If your child doesn’t seem to be responding to your requests at all, then it may be time to seek out the help of a speech therapist to determine whether your child is dealing with a language delay and if so what the best course of action is.
3. They’re Speaking In Broken Sentences
For a child between one and a half and two years children generally start assembling the words they’ve picked up into longer sentences.
This is an important step for your child learning to communicate.
If your child has been picking up single words and is able to understand you, but doesn’t start putting together their own sentences by the time they’re two years old, then a speech therapist may be a useful asset in assessing your child’s language progress and their ongoing needs.
4. They Pronounce Their Vowels Wrong
Many consonants can prevent a challenge to children just beginning to speak.
“Th” sounds especially may take a while to master, but vowel sounds generally come pretty naturally to young children.
If your child is having trouble forming vowel sounds, either as part of words or in the course of their experimenting with word fragments and sounds that may indicate the need for a speech therapist.
5. They Have Difficulty Imitating Sounds
Toddlers love to imitate just about anything they can get their eyes and ears on.
From the adults in their lives, to pets and television characters, they tend to repeat sounds that they’ve heard as a step to forming their own words.
If your child isn’t imitating sounds by their first birthday, or seems to be having difficulty doing so, it’s worth asking for the opinion of a professional on what the next steps on your child’s journey could look like.
6. Their Speech Just Isn’t Progressing
Different children learn to speak at different paces.
One child’s learning timeline may be different from that of their peers, and that’s alright.
Generally, however, speech development involves steady improvement.
If your child was picking up sounds and word fragments but their progress has plateaued, it’s worth looking into speech therapy to check in on whether their skills are progressing as well as they can be.
Book An Appointment With District Speech
Teaching your child to communicate is an amazing journey, and bumps in the road are all a part of the process.
If your child is having difficulties learning to speak, addressing their needs early can make a world of difference.
At District Speech we understand how important your child’s needs are to you.
Contact us today to book an appointment and get your child started on their path to better communication.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.