How To Help A Child With Speech Delay

As a parent, you want to see your child develop as normally as possible. However, there are times when development is delayed, and this can cause concern. One of the areas that may see delay is speech development. If your child is experiencing speech delay, it can make you very anxious, and you may become frustrated. Here is a look at the signs of speech delay and what you need to do.

When to Call Your Doctor

When your child is a year old if they aren't using gestures pointing or waving, then you should be concerned. If by 18 months they prefer to gesture when they want or need something rather than vocalizing, intervention may be needed. By 18 months, your child should be imitating the sounds that they are hearing from you. 

By two years old, they should produce their own words spontaneously. If your child cannot do this and speaks in a voice that is difficult for you to understand, you need to get professional help. 

The Causes of Speech Delay

There is a myriad of reasons why your child may be experiencing speech delay. They may have a problem with their tongue or the roof of their mouth, or they may have a hearing problem. However, there may be other reasons as well.

If you notice that your child has motor problems as well, this is because when there's a problem in the area of the brain that produces speech, it becomes harder for your child to coordinate their lips, tongue, and jaw to create sound. If the problem is severe enough, your pediatrician will refer you to a speech therapist.

Help Your Child

If your child has a speech problem, try to help them as much as possible. Look for age-appropriate board books and picture books, encourage your child to look at the pictures, and try to say the names of the objects. Use every opportunity you can to talk about their surroundings with them, and encourage them to respond to you. For example, on your way to the park or even the grocery store, you can discuss what you see in the environment.  

Many children have speech problems. If you suspect that your child is having a speech problem, the next thing you can do is to contact a pediatrician as soon as possible. The sooner you get specialized help for the problem, the more likely it is that your child will overcome it.