Communication delays in children are more effectively treated when there is an early diagnosis.
For many parents, especially first-time parents, it can be difficult to detect a delay during the early stages of a child’s development.
However, by understanding the key stages of communication and language development, families can better know when to seek help for a potential speech or language delay.
Starting at birth, infants show signs of hearing and communication abilities. These include reactions to loud sounds, different cries for different needs and the ability to recognize voices. Children older than three months will often respond with facial expressions or pay attention to the conversations of others.
Starting around the 6-month mark, the next “pre-communication” phase is when children begin to mimic one-syllable sounds. By 10 months, children begin to combine these sounds into multisyllabic sounds such as “baba” or “dada.”
Starting around a child’s first birthday, he or she should begin to speak their first words. Their language abilities should increase noticeably by their 18th month, at which point their lexicon typically includes 50-100 words. Single words are combined into simple phrases around year two, such as “mama no.”
This process precedes a child’s ability to speak. Children should respond to his or her name at an early age and follow basic instructions (e.g. “come here” or “pass the toy”) around their first birthday. From years 3-4, children should be able to response to simple questions, speak without repeating words or syllables and put together sentences longer than four words.
The development of speech and language skills may vary slightly from these guidelines, but if you have reason to suspect your child is experiencing a delay, early intervention by a speech pathologist is recommended. To learn more about hearing and speech services in Louisville, we encourage you to contact our team. At Heuser Hearing Institute, we provide a number of in-home services including parent-infant therapy to help your child meet language development goals.