LiveMD answers some of the most commonly asked questions about the speech and language development of your child.
What Stages Should I Expect in my Child’s Speech Development?
Six months of age is when your child will start to develop their communication skills. You will notice them imitating certain sounds and syllables and they will watch you as you speak to them. These skills will continue to develop and by the age of 9 months, your child should be responding to sounds and to their name when called. They should also understand certain words, like the word “no” and be able to play and understand games like “peek-a-boo”. Your baby will continue to babble and put sounds together and will eventually start forming their first words by the age of 1. They will also understand simple instructions and will get your attention to communicate what they want through the use of words or gestures. Speech and language skills will continue to develop until a full vocabulary and understanding of verbal and nonverbal cues has been established.
What Does it Mean if My Child Hasn’t Started to Speak Yet?
Some children are late bloomers and will begin to speak and communicate at their own pace and this is completely normal. If however, you feel that your child is far behind the usual milestone markers (as discussed above), or if you notice unusual behaviour, then it is time to speak with a doctor and have your child evaluated.
Hearing problems can cause a child to be far behind in speech and language development and often a child that relies on gestures instead of spoken sound, or doesn’t respond when called may be suffering from an undiagnosed hearing impairment.
If your child is making noises but has an unusual sounding voice that is nasally or raspy, this may be an indication of a problem in the mouth. Issues with the tongue or roof of the mouth can make it very difficult for a child to learn to form words.
Other issues, like overall delayed development, or conditions such as autism can cause impairment in communication skills as well.
How Can I Assist my Child in Developing These Skills?
Spending time and working closely with your child at a very early age can help them to obtain a strong grasp of proper communication skills. By using real words instead of “baby talk” when speaking to them you are helping them to learn and by listening to them you are encouraging them to continue to try forming new words. Using lots of different words will enhance their vocabulary and using repetition will allow them the opportunity to become familiar with how different words sound and are formed.
Proper development of speech and language skills is very important for your baby. It will allow them to grow into a well spoken adult that will be able to effectively communicate with those around them. If you have questions about your child’s development or have concerns about their progress, visit www.mylivemd.com today. Our doctors are available to help you with all of your questions and give you the proper advice that you need to make informed decisions about the care of your family and yourself.
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