From the moment they entered the world, you’ve been second-guessing what your child’s needs and desires are and you’re looking forward to having some more meaningful communications with them. But their words don’t seem to be coming and you’re worried that your child might have a speech or language delay.
The fact is that 1 out of 5 infants will learn to talk later than other kids, for any number of reasons — some are temporary while others might stem from longer-term speech and language or developmental disorders.
To help you determine whether there’s cause for concern, the team here at Celebrations Speech Group pulled together a few rules of thumb about early speech and language development.
A loose timeline of language and speech development
Below, we’re going to present an outline of what you might expect, insofar as timing, for your child’s speech and language development. But we present this information with a big caveat — this timeline isn’t written in stone and some kids simply learn to communicate at their own pace, which can be slower or faster than other kids their age.
During this early stage, you should only expect cooing and crying.
Babies typically start to recognize voices and follow sounds during this period. They also may start to babble more, but not yet form recognizable words.
Toddlers are starting to understand specific words and point to the object when you say the word. They might also have a few words in their vocabulary, such as mama or dada.
This is a period when infants usually learn to understand words quickly. Typically, kids under the age of 2 have a vocabulary of about 50 words.
A child’s speech and language really accelerate during this timeframe and they should have a word for most everything and start to string together the words to make short sentences.
Kids respond to questions and can tell stories using full sentences. They may still have issues pronouncing difficult sounds.
This is a period when most kids put the finishing touches on their speech and language skills. During this time, they can pronounce most sounds, use more detailed sentences that tell stories, and stay on topic.
For a more detailed speech and language timeline, click here.
Potential causes of speech and language delay
If, after exploring the timeline above, you suspect that your child may have a communication issue, it’s important to have us evaluate them.
As we mentioned, there are a wide range of issues that can lead to speech and language disorders, including:
- Hearing issues
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Receptive language disorder
- Oral impairments
- Intellectual disability
- Apraxia of speech
Sometimes kids just opt not to talk, which is called selective mutism. Or, kids who are twins may have speech delays because they’ve learned to communicate differently. As well, kids who live in bilingual homes may have delayed speech and language as they sort through the extra information.
As you can see, getting to the bottom of the speech delay is an important first step and can be the guide for where we go next to help your child communicate better.
If you have questions about speech and language delays or you’d like us to evaluate your child, please contact one of our offices in Brentwood, Stockton, or Elk Grove, California, to schedule a consultation.