Early Intervention Counts! Does Your Child Have a Language Delay?

Speech-and-HearingMay is Better Speech and Hearing Month! Each year, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association conducts a yearly campaign to raise public awareness of communication disorders. This year’s theme is Early Intervention Counts! In support of this campaign, we’ve been dedicating each of our blogs this month to identifying and seeking early intervention with a variety of different disorders. Today, as we wrap up this series, we’ll focus on childhood language delays.

As a speech-language pathologist, one of the most common questions I hear is, “Is my child’s language on where it should be for his age?” Parents start asking this question from the moment their child starts babbling, and continue worrying well into their child’s school years. While there’s no set schedule for a child to develop language, and all children develop at their own pace, there are some common benchmarks that can help you tell if your child may have a language delay. Here are some of the most common milestones for early language development:

One to Two Years

  • Responds to simple commands and questions (“Point to the kitty”)
  • Starts to combine words in two-word phrases (e.g. “more milk”, “Daddy play”, “no bath”)
  • Uses some one- or two-word questions (“Where Daddy?”, “Go bye-bye?”)
  • Begins to use pronouns, such as “mine”

Two to Three Years

  • Speech is clear enough to be understood by familiar listeners (e.g. family members) most of the time
  • Follows two-step requests (“Get your toy and put it on the floor.”)
  • Uses two- or three-word sentences to talk about and ask for things

Three to Four Years

  • Unfamiliar listeners (e.g. people outside the family) usually understand child’s speech
  • Answers simple, “who?”, “what?”, “where?”, and “why?” questions
  • Regularly uses sentences that have 4 or more words

If your child hasn’t met each of these milestones, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a language delay or disorder. But if your child seems to be consistently behind, schedule an appointment with a speech-language pathologist to rule out a possible issue. Remember: Early Intervention Counts! Getting professional treatment for a speech or language delay early on can help your child’s outcome down the road.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to jayne@speechassociatesofny.com. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.

© 2015, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved

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