Identifying Speech Problems In Children

Woman holding a letter A card while talking to a girl

It can be tough for parents to deal with the fact that their child has a speech problem. But early detection can prove vital in terms of seeking appropriate treatment. There are practicing professionals that can help.

Aside from their industry-mandated techniques, speech pathologists can also make the treatment worthwhile by incorporating fun activities. This includes games for speech treatment or therapy, among others.

Fortunately, it can be easy to determine whether a child has a speech issue early on. It is important to remember, however, that different children learn language at different rates. Some may appear to be delayed but are in fact not. Here are a few signs parents should watch out for.

Trust your instincts

As a parent, your gut feel might prove unreliable. But there could be things that lend credence to this type of judgment. A parent might feel like the child is experiencing a speech delay in accordance to a “common timeframe.”

For instance, it is natural for parents to expect that by the time the child is a year old, simple words such as mama/mommy or dada/daddy should already be present. Other signs include a lack of non-verbal ticks/gestures such as waving, finger-pointing, or even babble that resembles talking.

Further down the timeline

By the time a child reaches 15 months of age, the babbling should have a wide range of speech sounds already. This includes p, m, n, and other consonants. The child must also be unconsciously practicing these sounds by mimicking the way adults speak.

Another sign of a speech delay is difficulty in understanding simple commands. One such command is the “bring me,” or “stop” and “go.”

Standards they do not meet

There are certain verbal standards that a child should satisfy by the time they reach two years of age. Speech development is normal if the child can use combinations of words, about two or three words at a time. By the time children turn three, three-word sentences should be common.

Parents, however, must also be aware that toddlers tend to understand more words than they could speak. If they do not seem to respond to more complex verbal commands, there might be a problem. By this time, a speech therapist is the only one who can help.