Generally, kids will start babbling at 6 months old, you can’t understand this babble but they are doing their best to speak. Babies will start to say their first words by 10-15 months. By 18 months, they should start picking up a high number of words and even combine simple sentences.
However, with kids, it is important to always maintain your cool. All kids develop differently, and it’s not good to compare your child with others, as kids are beyond compare and they develop on their own schedules.
Many parents start to worry when their baby hasn’t started to speak at 18 months. But if your doctor tells you your child is healthy and just developing slowly, that doesn’t mean there will be any developmental issues later on. Up next, we tell you what to do if your child doesn’t speak.
When to Consult a Doctor
Ideally, at 18 months, your child should be speaking between 6 and 20 words. They should also understand many more. If your child at 18 months is speaking fewer than 6 words, then it is a good idea to speak to a doctor.
You should have hit some milestones at certain ages, and if your child isn’t hitting those milestones, you need to speak to a professional.
12 – 18 months
- If, by 12 months your child hasn’t started using simple gestures such as pointing at what they want, or waving at you.
- If by 18 months, your baby still prefers to gesture over vocalizing their needs.
- If by 18 months your baby has trouble imitating common sounds.
- If by 18 months they have trouble trying to understand simple verbal requests.
- If by 2 years you baby still cannot imitate speech and other actions and they do not produce words and phrases spontaneously.
- If by 2 years, your baby can only same some sounds and they are not using oral language to communicate their needs.
- If at 2 years your baby doesn’t follow simple instructions
- If at 2 years, your child speaks with a strange tone in their voice that is nasal or raspy sounding.
- If you are unable to understand at least 50% of your child’s speech at 2 years old, or 75% at 3 years old.
By 4 years old, your child should be well understood by people who don’t even know him.
What are the Causes of Speech Delays?
Speech delays are common in children, and they are caused by a variety of issues.
- An oral impairment – this includes problems with the palate or tongue.
- A short frenulum – this is the fold that is found beneath the tongue and can limit the movement of the tongue.
Most children who have speech delays tend to also have oral and motor skills problems. This happens when there are problems in the areas of the brain that are responsible for speech. This then makes it hard for the kids to coordinate their tongues, lips and jaws to make sounds.
These can also cause your child to have speech issues. An audiologist is required to test your child for hearing problems whenever there are speech problems. Kids who have trouble with their hearing tend to also have trouble with their speech.
Can speech therapy help?
This is a common solution for most parents, and a speech therapist can work with your child to improve on their speech problems. The speech therapist will also show you how to help your child at home in order to help them talk.
How else can parents help?
As a parent, this can be a very difficult situation to deal with. You can try the following tips when trying to teach your kid how to speak;
- Focus more on communication by talking to your baby as often as possible, sing to them and encourage them to imitate gestures and sounds.
- Read to your baby often.
- Use everyday situations to build their confidence to speak.
- Work closely with your doctor to help your baby.
Delayed speech is very common in kids, and recognizing it early is one of the best things you can do for your child, as the doctors are able to correct it in case there is a problem. Call your doctor if you think there is a bigger underlying problem.