A child’s first words are a source of excitement for parents everywhere. But what if those first words don’t come when you expect them too? It’s normal to be concerned about your child’s language development, but if your child doesn’t begin talking at the exact same time as other children, it isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. However, it’s important to keep an eye out for any potential issues so if there is a problem, your child can get help as early as possible.
First off, there is no set developmental schedule that a child needs to adhere to in order to be considered “normal”. Every child develops at their own pace, so some variation in when milestones are achieved is perfectly normal. I myself was a very late talker; I didn’t start speaking until I was almost two years old! That said, if speech and language skills are developing much later than expected or accompanied by other problems, it could be a sign that your child has a communication disorder.
You might hear some people recommend a “wait and see” approach when speech or language are delayed. But if you think your child might have a speech or language issue, it’s best to get an evaluation from a professional speech-language pathologist right away. If your child is on track, a professional evaluation can help to give peace of mind. If the speech therapist does determine your child has a delay, beginning speech-language therapy as early as possible can help stimulate language development and head off future problems.
A speech-language therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation of your child’s communication strengths and challenges to determine if they’re on track developmentally. In addition to spoken language, the speech therapist will evaluate how much language the child understands and how well your child uses non-verbal communication, like gestures. If they determine that your child does have a language delay or other communication issue, the speech-language pathologist will work to stimulate language development, using the child’s current skills as a starting point. A speech-language pathologist can also provide strategies to parents to help their child at home too.
If your child seems to be a bit behind on some of their milestones, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem. However, telling the difference between a late bloomer and a communication disorder can be tricky. Play it safe and make an appointment with a licensed speech-language pathologist if you suspect any issues with your child’s speech or language development. If there is a problem, getting intervention as early as possible can help ensure the best outcome and head off problems for your child down the road.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give us a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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