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03 Mar, 2024
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speech development

Speech Development – H&S Education & Parenting

Speech Development In Children

Most parents confuse speech & language development. Speech is a verbal expression of language an easier way to understand this is it involves the way we form words and sounds. Whereas language is giving & getting communication and involves understanding & being understood via means of verbal, nonverbal & written communication. The two are therefore not to be confused. Language development can therefore vary significantly between children including siblings from the same family. But there are certain milestones that can be taken as a guideline to help identify normal speech development which will help in mastering the required skills of the language.

So What Are The Normal Speech Developmental Milestones?

Below are some general patterns that parents can use as a guideline to help give them an idea if their child’s milestones with regards to speech are age-appropriate:
1-3 months: Babies tend to cry & coo
4-6 months: Babies grunt, gurgle, squeal, laugh, make different sounds.
6-9 months: Babies start to babble in syllables and imitate tones and speech sounds.
By 12 MONTHS: Generally, a baby will utter its first words usually MAMA, DADA by the 12th Month mark.
18 months-2 years: Children can now use up to 50 words and make short sentenced by putting 2 words together.
2-3 years: Sentences now will include 4 to 5 words and a child in this age group can identify objects, pictures and will start using pronouns (I, ME, HE, SHE) as well as some plurals.
3-5 years: Conversations now appear to be more comprehensive with longer sentences being used. By 5 years of age, a child should have a vocabulary of at least 2,500 words & will talk in complete sentences that are grammatically correct. This age group is the more curious age group with a lot of WHY, WHO & WHAT questions.

When To See A Doctor?

From the above guideline, if a baby isn’t responding to a sound or vocalizing then this requires a visit to the paediatrician as remember hearing is essential for proper speech and language development. If your child by the age of 1 year, is not trying to communicate using sounds, words or gestures to ask for something, for example then something could be wrong and only a paediatrician will be able to confirm whether the child has a speech delay.
If by the age of 2 years your child isn’t capable of using up to 50 words and make 2-word short sentences then you need to consult a paediatrician to make sure your child doesn’t have any speech-related issues.

What Can You Do As Parents To Help With The Development Of Speech?

For Babies, start communicating by making faces, noises and talking to them from birth. Nursery rhymes, interactive games like peek-a-boo should be encouraged. You can even start picture books from an early age. If your child is now starting to talk you can talk to them using slow, simple, short, clear sentences. Also, try using sentences with an extra word or so compared to their age-related speaking skills. Avoid criticising, instead use praise when the child says a word or a sentence correctly. Help them learn words by using pictures to match with words for example a picture of a dog for the word dog, as an association is a good way of learning. When they get stuck at a word don’t say it all instead say do– and let them complete it. Allow them to talk and ask questions as they grow. Reduce screen time and include games that can help them with their vocabulary for instance.

speech development


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