A simple search for “late-talking” will find you hundreds of posts by concerned parents seeking guidance for their late-talking kids. The first problem is that most parents find it difficult differentiating between childhood apraxia and late-talking.
It is important to note that while the former has more to do with developmental delays leading to the inability to coordinate the muscles used to produce speech, a late talker has no problem with understanding language and developing social skills, thinking skills, and motor skills.
The problem encountered by late talkers emanates from having a limited spoken vocabulary. It is a puzzling condition because there is no consensus explanation among researchers as to what the primary causes of late-talking are. They have however determined that family history of late-talkers, premature birth, and being born with less than optimal birth weight are likely culprits for late-talking.
But how do you determine if your child is a late talker? Here are some important milestones to watch out for in your child’s language journey:
Milestones to Watch Out in Your Child’s Language Development
First Phase (Birth to 3 Months): surprisingly, language development begins immediately after birth. Between birth to 3 months, an infant begins to respond to sounds by looking at the speaker and can differentiate the voice of the people around him or her; especially those of his parents. At this stage, infants also try to communicate by imitating sounds, laughing, babbling, and crying.
Second Phase (3 to 6 months): While babies cannot talk at this stage, they can respond to conversations through gazing, gestures, and facial expressions. So, from the age of 3 to 6 months, watch out to see if your baby has started listening to conversations, imitating simple consonant and vowels sounds as well as exchanging facial expressions with the people around him or her.
Third Phase (6 to 9 Months): If a child is not a late-talker, during this stage, he or she should be able to utilize gestures in communication such as waving when saying the word “bye.” He or she should also be able to make babbling sounds as well as use vocal signals to communicate with the people around.
Fourth Phase (9 to 12 Months): During this stage, kids develop the ability to clearly pronounce some words as comprehend what other people are saying. So if your child is between the ages of 9 to 12 months, he or she should be able to understand that no means halt. He or she should be able to pronounce the names of people and objects. Also, at this stage, kids can show how they feel using facial expression and body language.
Fifth Phase (12 to 24 Months): At this stage, kids’ language skills undergo considerable development. Between 12 to 18 months most kids start to make two-word sentences and can learn up to 10 new words every day. At the age of 12 months, your kid should be using words like “mine” to indicate possession of an item. He or she should also be able to string together two words to describe a thing or event.
By 24 months old, it is expected that he or she be able to describe things or events using specific words that family members can understand. He or she should also be able to make two to three-word sentences as well as use adverbs and adjectives.
What to Do If You Notice That Your Child is a Late Talker
While it is important to start by engaging your child in conversation and encouraging him or her to interact with other members of the family, it is equally advisable to seek the help of a speech therapist.
If you live in Dubai, a visit to our center will be the appropriate step towards helping your child develop at the supposed pace. Pulse Center is a leading language therapy and learning center licensed under the DHA and KHDA.