As the parent of a young child, you’re always on the lookout for milestones related to crawling, walking and speech. While it’s important to keep an eye on all of these, speech delays are some of the most common developmental delays. If you think your child might have a speech delay, it’s important to seek treatment so they can gain these foundational communication skills. At Hearing Speech + Deaf Center, our team can determine if your child is experiencing a speech delay and provide the best treatment for their needs.
How Common Are Speech Delays?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one in five children will experience a speech delay.
What Are Speech Milestones Children Should Reach?
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has found that:
- By three months, children should recognize your voice, vocalize pleasure through laughing or cooing, vocalize displeasure by crying and make noise when spoken to.
- By six months, they should repeat basic sounds and enjoy playing with toys that make noise.
- By 11 months, they should respond to their name and say “ma-ma,” “da-da,” “ba-ba” or similar phrases.
- By 17 months, they should enjoy being read to, follow single-
- By 23 months, they should answer yes or no questions, make animal sounds and have a vocabulary of around 50 words.
- By three years, they should use three-word sentences, answer simple questions and use plurals or words and regular past tense verbs.
- By four years, they should group similar objects together, use -ing verbs, repeat sentences and answer simple questions. They should be able to pronounce most sounds, but more difficult ones like
- By five years, they should engage in conversations, understand rhyming and use sentences with eight words or more.
If your child is not reaching these milestones, they may be experiencing a speech delay.
What Causes Speech Delays?
Factors that lead to speech delays include:
- Family history
- Hearing loss
- Oral anatomy, or problems with the tongue or soft palate
- Dysarthria, which is a disorder involving the muscles that control speech
- Exposure to multiple languages
- Neurological disorders such as autism, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy
- Learning disabilities
- Auditory processing disorders
- Premature birth
- Environmental deprivation
How Are Speech Delays Treated?
Our speech therapist will work with your child to develop a customized treatment plan that will improve their language skills. Specific activities will depend on your child’s age and individual needs, but the goal is to enable them to better understand spoken words and encourage them to respond verbally.
As your child’s primary caregiver, you’re an important part of their support team, and our provider will share ways to encourage them to speak with you. No matter the cause and extent of your child’s speech delay, we’re here to work with your family.
How Can I Support My Child?
If you think your child might have a speech delay, it’s important to seek treatment. At Hearing Speech + Deaf Center, our team can diagnose speech delays in patients at each stage of development. Providing treatment now can help your child to speak and learn along with their peers, and we will work with you as a team. Collaborative treatment can help your child develop stronger communication, whether they’re in therapy or at home. We know how much you care, and we’re here to support you and your child every step of the way.
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