Watching your child grow and learn to communicate with the world around them is one of the greatest joys as a parent. But what do you do if you think your child is lagging behind? Last week, we talked about how a speech-language pathologist can help if you suspect your child is delayed in developing language. Today, we talk about a few specific milestones to look out for to help determine if your child is a late bloomer, or a risk for a communication disorder.
First, a caveat: all children develop at their own pace and lagging behind on achieving milestones doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem. I always like to remind my clients that I didn’t talk until I was almost three years old! While many people were concerned that there was a problem, I eventually began talking when I was ready and had no lingering communication issues. However, a delay can also be indicative of an underlying language or communication disorder, so if your child is missing milestones, it’s important to see a speech-language pathologist for a full evaluation to rule out any larger issues. Here are some of the most common milestones for early language development:
One to Two Years
- Responds to simple commands and questions (“Wave bye bye!”; “Show me the ball”)
- Starts to combine words in two-word phrases (e.g. “more milk”, “Daddy play”)
- Uses some one- or two-word questions (“Where puppy?”, “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 cup and put it on the table.”)
- 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
A delayed milestone or two may turn out be nothing, but it’s always better to play it safe and get an evaluation from a speech-language pathologist. If there is an underlying issue, getting the appropriate therapy early can go a long way towards minimizing future challenges.
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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