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Speech and language delay: when should you be concerned?

Should you be concerned if your child is not talking as much as his peers?

While it is true that every child is different in terms of their personality, learning and development, children generally develop along a certain pattern or timeline. These signs or milestones indicate if your child is on the right track:

Between 6 to 8 months: babbles with reduplicated sounds (e.g. “bababa” or “gagaga”)

Between 9 to 12 months: babbles with varied sounds, as if to mimic adult speech (e.g. “badabigoo”)

By 1 year old: uses a handful of simple words like “mama” “papa”  “ball” “more” (even if they may not pronounce the sounds accurately)

By 18 months: follows simple instructions in familiar routines and uses many single words to communicate (at least 20 words)

By 2 years old: starts to combine 2 words to form phrases e.g. “daddy car” “mummy go”

By 3 years old: forms short sentences 3-4 words in length e.g. “daddy drive car” “mummy go sleep”

By 3 years old: familiar listeners (parents, caregivers) should understand at least 75% of what the child says

By 4 years old: both familiar and unfamiliar listeners (strangers) should understand 100% of what the child says

Is it true that children will outgrow delays and eventually catch up?

Research shows that between 20 to 30% of “late talkers” do not grow out of their language delays and have ongoing difficulties with language and literacy. For those who do appear to catch up by the time they enter primary school, they continue to struggle academically, socially, and may have difficulties attention and behaviour later on.

If you’re concerned about your child’s speech and language milestones, it may not be wise to adopt the “wait and see” approach. Do approach a speech therapist who can then advise on the appropriate course of action. The earlier action is taken, the better odds they have for long-term success in language, literacy and other areas of development. Contact us here at Amazing Speech Therapy to share your concerns about your child’s speech and language development.

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