Tips for Speech Delay in Children

Tips for Speech Delay in Children

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How can you tell if your child has a speech delay? And what can you do about it? We get a lot of questions from parents and caregivers about identifying and treating speech delay in children. First, we want to commend you for taking the time to research this important topic! The more you understand about speech and language development, the sooner you will be able to recognize any sort of speech delay and get back on track.

First, it’s important to understand that a child’s speech and language development is continually evolving. Professional speech-language pathologists use age-based developmental milestones to assess whether or not a child is at a developmentally appropriate level. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these milestones as they relate to your child’s age and stage. If you do believe that your child may have a speech delay – or even if you just want to work on developing communication skills at home – here are our top tips:

1. Read with your child and read often!

Children are so inquisitive and love to explore ideas in books. Around the age of 18 months, you can begin letting your child pick the books that he or she wants to “read.” Don’t worry if it’s the same book over and over again. While this might get boring and repetitive for you, your child benefits from reinforcing the same concepts. Read and read often! Your child will benefit from hearing new words and listening to the cadence of how stories are told.

These are our favorite books for speech delay in children:

 Talk With Me – Designed for children with speech delay or early talkers. This book uses popular nursery rhymes to encourage first words. Helpful hints guide parents along the way.

By Kimberly McCollister & Adrienne Penake. Reviewed by Kelsey Bailey, M.S. CCC-SLP.

 

 

speech delay in children

Easy-To-Say First Words – by Cara Tambellini Danielson, CCC-SLP

Designed for parents concerned with speech delay. This books exposes your child to final consonants and encourages first words. Helpful to encourage talking through easy words, cute photos and repetition.

 

 

2. It’s not enough to “just read”

Ok, here’s a good one that seems to directly contradict #1. In addition to reading, you also want to make your child an active participant in the story. Sit with your child’s favorite book, point to the pictures, and ask your child what they see happening in the story. It doesn’t matter at all what they respond, or whether or not you can understand them. You want them to inquire and wonder and begin trying to communicate with you. Don’t try and use these times as a chance to “correct” or refine your child’s interpretation. You just want to get them talking.

3. Sing!

Even if children can’t speak fluently, they might be able to express themselves through music and singing. Sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, or “Rain, Rain Go Away.” Pause at the end of the line and see if your child can fill in the next word. See if they will sing with you. And then celebrate! Any utterance is great progress.

 

If you do suspect a speech delay:

By the age of two, children who are not meeting developmental milestones very well may have a speech delay. At this point, seeking professional help from a certified speech-language pathologist in your area is warranted. You’ll want to ask about screening for any medical conditions that may be interrupting speech development and get professional help in treating your child’s speech delay.

Parent's Guide to Speech & Communication Challenges

 

Bilingual Households and Speech Delays in Children

Bilingual Households and Speech Delays in Children

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Does growing up in a bilingual household create speech delays in children? The answer in the short term appears to be yes. Over the long term, however, children from bilingual homes tend to bounce back and may even derive special advantages from growing up in a household where both English and another language are spoken.

Tips For Raising a Bilingual Child

The key to raising a bilingual child is early exposure. The first few years of a child’s life represent the most rapid period in the growth of language pathways for speech development. Researchers say that a child’s brain in this critical period are like giant file cabinets that store up huge libraries of phonetic knowledge.

Scientists at Cornell University describe the acquisition of language as one of the greatest feats in human development. Their research indicates that an initial deficit in word learning or vocabulary was followed by “a fast pace of development,” ultimately reaching the same rate as children raised in monolingual homes. While many teachers and parents may be concerned that raising a child in a multilingual or bilingual household could be confusing, the scientific evidence indicates that bilingual children do not suffer from “language confusion, language delay or cognitive deficit.”

The Advantages of Raising a Bilingual Child

The cognitive advantages that your child will reap from bilingualism or multilingualism will likely aid his or her academic achievements later in life. In fact, far from causing problems in a child’s intellectual development, bilingual or multilingual kids enjoy special advantages over their monolingual peers, including easier access to other languages and cultures in ways that their peers often do not share. Moreover, exposure from birth to more than one language may yield the best results in achieving native-like proficiency.

Perhaps best of all, the children of bilingual or multilingual parents do not need to be “taught” a second language in order to get it right. Language learning is a complex process that children work through on a step-by-step basis, according to the sounds that they hear from their parents and overhear in other settings. So while exposure from birth to different languages is essential, moms and dads do not need to drill their children if they are developing normally. They can simply allow their kids to “discover” other languages on their own.

At the same time, however, parents can take concrete steps to facilitate multilanguage development that will enrich understanding and mastery, including:

  • Surrounding the child with conversations and social groups that utilize more than one language.
  • Exposing children to different languages through multilingual play groups.
  • Reading to and telling your child stories in different languages.

Another tip for parents raising the bilingual or multilingual child is for each parent to stick to his or her native tongue. This is known as the OPOL — “one parent, one language” — strategy for nurturing multilingual speech development. It’s based on the idea that kids will have an easier time if moms and dads consistently speak their own native tongues.

Of course, parents with children who have diagnosed language difficulties have special concerns regarding the effects of bilingualism. But research shows that, even among kids with language development challenges, it is possible for them to achieve bilingualism. According to one researcher, the evidence “suggests that…these children can acquire functional competence in two languages at the same time, within the limits of their impairment. Therefore, children with specific language impairment living in families where knowing two, or more, languages are useful and important, should be given every opportunity to acquire two languages.”

Parents who are unsure or have doubts should make sure that their children’s hearing has been tested; they should also consult an expert and remember that language development is a complex process that takes time and that some children will simply develop these skills at different rates.

Catching Early Signs of Speech Delay

Catching Early Signs of Speech Delay

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Parenting is no easy feat, many times with our ever busy lives, the convenience of websites like WebMD seem to be the go-to diagnostic center, rather than the traditional “trip to the doctor’s office.” Deciphering whether or not your child has a speech or language challenge may not always be straightforward. I took the opportunity to sit down at Heights Pediatrics with Dr. Katerina Silverblatt, to address some of the most vital questions parents may ask themselves when it comes to discovering early signs of speech delay.

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Speech Delay in Toddlers vs. Late Talkers

Speech Delay in Toddlers vs. Late Talkers

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How do you know if your toddler has speech delay? Don’t hit the panic button yet! There’s a chance your child could just be a late talker. A late talker is a toddler between the ages of 18 to 30 months, who is developing normal play, social, thinking and motor skills, but who is limited in spoken vocabulary for their age. Toddlers who are late talkers do not necessarily have speech delay. Most late talkers have difficulty with expressive language. Expressive language is used by toddlers when they are communicating their wants and needs. For example, asking for “milk” is a way that toddlers use expressive language to communicate their desire for a particular drink. Learn more about speech delay in toddlers below.

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Will My Child Outgrow Her Speech Impediment?

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Speech Impediment?

Will My Child Outgrow Her Speech Impediment?

Your child hasn’t reached the speech and language milestones as quickly as her buddies. And, she says “thoup” instead of “soup”. Does this mean she has a speech impediment? Does she need speech therapy? Will she outgrow it on her own? Parents whose children are at the beginning stages of speech and language development ask these questions and more as their children’s speech patterns emerge. There are no real clinical “tests” to determine whether or not your child is a late talker, has a real speech impediment, or if it will indeed resolve itself on its own. Many children with early speech impairments do eventually outgrow them by the time they are ready for kindergarten. It  is important to discuss your concerns with your child’s healthcare provider for any developmental challenges as there are also many other causes and types of speech disorders.
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