Every child’s abilities to learn is different, which means their pace may be slower or faster than other children. In addition, the range of what is normal is substantially wide. Hence, it helps to know the various signs that your child might not have certain skills other kids have at his or her age. You will want to note that these problems are called developmental delays.
Most developmental delays are not serious, and most kids can catch up naturally if they get early treatment. This means getting your children the help they need as soon as you spot a problem. Whether your child falls behind in physical, mental or emotional growth, do not wait to find out. Talk to a doctor right away!
Possible causes of speech delays
Speech development delays are pretty common, and while they may sound similar to language developmental delays, they are different types of issues. When we talk about speech, it means the sounds that come out from an individual’s mouth. A child who has a speech delay may have difficulty saying words the right way or even stutter.
Language, on the other hand, often refers to gestures and sounds. So a kid with language problems may have difficulty understanding or expressing themselves to others. A delay in these skills can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
• Developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder or cerebral palsy
• A natural learning disability
• Children, who had a lot of ear infections, may be affected by hearing loss
• Children may be having problems with the roof of their mouth or tongue. This makes it hard for them to form words and sounds with the needed clarity
See a speech therapist or speech language pathologist
When you think your child has a problem with his or her language or speech, it is pertinent that you inform your family doctor right away. Your doctor should recommend a specialist who can test your child’s hearing and provide an accurate diagnosis before treatment can ensue from there. The areas the specialist will study, includes:
• What can he or she say?
• What can they understand?
• If there are other ways that your child uses to get his thoughts across. This may include nodding or other common gestures.
The things you can do at home
Sending a child to speech therapy sessions is definitely a good start when he or she shows signs of speech development delay. This allows a certified therapist to work closely with your child to strengthen the muscles in his or her mouth and face; pronounce words; and improve articulation and fluency. However, there’s more that can be done at home, including:
• Reading to your child his or her favorite stories daily
• Ask your children questions so that they have a chance to practice responding
• Point out sounds and objects at home, in the car or even the grocery store
• Talk to them throughout the day
Do not worry though, there is no fixed deadline for a child to start talking or use complete sentences. Children will naturally reach language and speech milestones by a certain age. For instance, they may be able to identify body parts when they are three years old or use past tense the right way when they are five years old. If your child can’t do some of the above, simply let your doctor know to be able to proceed with the best course of action.