Speech delay refers to delay of development that use the mechanisms that produce speech. It doesn’t simply involve comprehension or non verbal communication, it involves understanding and communicating both verbally and non verbally.
Normally a 2 year old can say up to 50 words and can speak two-three word sentences and by the age of 3 year old their vocabulary can increase up to 1000 words. If your toddler doesn’t met those milestones they may have speech delay.
Developmental Milestones of A Toddler
1 YEAR OLD
- Can be able to look and find where the sound is coming
- Can respond upon you call their name
- Can say at least one word
- Can point on object they like
- Can point to a certain direction
- They try to copy words
- Try to imitate sounds they hear
2 YEAR OLD
- Can follow simple instructions
- Point to few body parts
- Bring things they want to show
- Can name animals and thing
- Can able to recognize alphabet
Speech Delay Symptoms
- Difficulty in following instructions
- Not talking by the age of 2
- Not babbling at the age of 15 months
- Can only say few words
- Difficulty on imitating sounds at the age of 2
- Prefers gesture over vocalization to communicate
- Don’t use oral language to communicate immediate needs
- Not interested on playing with toys
- Have a very short attention span
- Waving good bye is a difficult task
- Prefers to play alone
What causes Speech Delay?
Speech delay might be due to:
- Oral Impairment – Like problems in the tongue and palate
- Short frenulum – Fold beneath the tongue that can limit the movement of tongue
- Hearing Problems/Ear Infection – Those who have trouble in hearing may lead to speech delay
- Too much gadget exposure – it has a negative effect on a toddler’s development of speech, in a study shown for every 30 minutes increase in daily hand held screen time, there was 49% increased risk of expressive language delay and can result in young children to say fewer words. It can cause physical and mental damage.
Speech delay can only be diagnose by a speech language pathologist, it will examine and check your child’s speech and language skill. They will give standardized tests and look for milestone in speech and language development of your child. Speech therapy will help your child to improve speech and language skills.
What Parents Should Do?
- Communicate – communicating with your child by encouraging them to talk, sing and imitate sounds and gestures.
- Read – Start reading books and stories to your child. Find books that are appropriate to their age.
- Refrain them from using gadgets – Never use gadgets as baby sitters, refrain from giving them cellphone, tablet or anything to watch educational videos and keep them entertained. Make sure that when you let them watched TV and videos you watch with them for supervision, limiting the use of it will help them to focus more on what real world can offer.
- Play – Set playdates. Play with your child.
Simple speech delays can sometimes be temporary. In other cases some child need more help from a trained professional to learn to communicate better. Recognizing and treating speech delays early is the best approach. Always remember that children develop at their own rate.