Should you worry if children are slow to talk? Intervention, if needed, should start early

Published: Saturday, Jan. 19 2013 7:10 p.m. MST

Colter has come a long way, but still has more work to do. He’s talking, but more like a 2-year-old than a boy who’s almost 4. There is much to celebrate, though. His mother noticed a big change in his level of confidence and happiness after he had been working with Collingridge for about six months.

“He started coming up and trying to tell me secrets,” she said. “Before that, he was just silent. He didn’t try to talk. Now, I can understand him sometimes, though sometimes I have no idea what is being said. The important thing is, he’s trying all the time.”

Speech development milestones

Ordered milestones form the building blocks of language development, and parents can help children reach them.

By age 1 a child should:

Say two or three words besides "mama" and "dada."

Understand simple instructions.

Recognize his or her name.

Parents can help by responding to their child's cooing and babbling, reading colorful books every day, telling nursery rhymes and singing songs.

Between 1 and 2 a child should:

Use 10 to 20 words, including names.

Combine two words, such as "daddy bye-bye."

Make the sounds of familiar animals.

Parents can help by talking simply and slowly to their child about everything that's going on throughout the day and providing children's recordings.

Between 2 and 3 a child should:

Carry on conversation with self and dolls.

Have a 450-word vocabulary.

Combine nouns and verbs: "mommy go."

Parents can help by encouraging children to answer simple questions, reading books daily and carrying on conversations with their children.

When a child is behind in reaching speech development milestones, parents should discuss concerns with the child's pediatrician, who can set up a free evaluation if warranted.

Source: PRO-ED Inc.


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