As a parent, we sit with our baby and we may talk to them with our advanced language only to hear the cute babbling back. Which is something we expect from babies, right? However, something we may not expect is the speech and language development delay that may occur as our babies grow. And this is okay! Do not fret. To help tackle this subject, I am here to comfort you and give you the tips and tricks you could use to help your baby when you begin realizing that maybe they are a bit behind others their age.
By the end of 12 months of age, a child is typically able to imitate your basic sounds, as well as say small words such as “mama” or “uh-oh.” At this age, if you notice that your child is not imitating these simple sounds and words, you could incorporate toys, bubbles, or snacks as a reinforcement! During the time that you are able to practice, you could hold that reinforcement toward your mouth to grasp attention and model these sounds. Requesting for objects with sign language is another way to help children learn speech. This is a great communication tool for those who are not using their voice. Demonstrate the sign and say the word so your child can understand what each sign means. Have your child begin using those signs and show them that first sound of the word (i.e., “muh muh muh” for “more”) to help gain insight and exposure to using our lips for speech.
By the end of 18 months, a child is pointing, has 10 words, and is following simple directions. If your child is not yet doing these tasks, begin labeling and modeling these directions! It is a crucial step in the developmental language world!
Lastly, by the end of 24 months a child is using simple 2 word phrases, answering simple questions, and has a minimum of 50 words. As mentioned in the previous steps for the younger ages, we use sign language and labeling. This time, we combine it! Have your child request, but also model that language for them. For example, we could say “Look! It’s a green car!”, “ Wow! That motorcycle is fast!” or “Do you want more?”
Speech and language developmental delay is something that we must have patience with! Early intervention is key when you begin noticing your child is not reaching their milestones. Speech therapy is a wonderful journey. In the end, it is all worth it. You will be so excited to see what a difference not only clinical therapy has made, but home therapy has made as well by incorporating these tips! If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at TEAM 4 Kids. We are happy to help!
Jayleen Santiago, SLPA