Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed the ways that children learn and develop language, from their very first attempts at speech sounds and communicative interaction, through their first few words. As exciting as a child’s language development is, it can also be a source of stress for a lot of parents. Should my child be talking already? Are they using enough words? Could something be wrong?
Although it’s important for parents to be vigilant about their child’s development and keep an eye out for warning signs that could be red flags for developmental issues, it’s also important to note that each child develops language in his or her own way. There are general accepted timelines for child language development, but it’s critical to remember that they are only guidelines, and your child’s development may take a slightly different path.
This point actually came up in my own childhood. As a child I was extremely quiet. The usual time markers for first speech came and went, and I did not say a word. Family and friends urged my mother to take me to a doctor or other professional to find out if there was a problem and get help. However, my mother remained unconcerned, responding with, “Jayne will speak when she’s ready.” It took a while—it wasn’t until I was nearly three years old that I finally began speaking! However, there were no subsequent difficulties with my language development as I grew—I had simply been a late talker.
Ignoring late language development is not recommended. Any notable delay in language should certainly be addressed by a professional to rule out any larger issues and head off serious problems at the pass. “Better safe than sorry” is always good advice when taking your child’s health and development into consideration. However, I share my story with the hopes of easing the worry in parents’ minds when they find their child is not meeting the exact timeline markers that they have read about for language development. Seek out the advice and assistance of a professional, but don’t panic, and take each day as it comes.
Are you concerned about your child’s speech or language development? At Speech Associates of New York, our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists provide in-home evaluations and therapy. Each of our professionals is trained in the assessment and treatment of a range of pediatric and adult speech, language and communication disorders. Call us today at (917) 841-2965 and find out how we can help your child communicate their best!