Ahh, the weekly playgroup! Another situation where you realize that every single toddler in the room seems to be speaking in clear sentences except for your son? Of course, the reasoning side of your brain is telling you NOT to compare your child to others, but the emotional side tells you that it’s hard not to compare when you are witnessing it for yourself. Is my son’s delayed speech normal? Like everything else child-development related, children learn at different rates. Your child may be swinging a golf club like Tiger Woods, or he can do triple flips on the trampoline, but he still cannot speak in complete and clear sentences. It’s okay. There is real research that indicates many boys start talking later than girls.
As a parent, it’s all too easy to catch yourself comparing your child to other children. “My daughter is much more mature than her friends… If only my son were more interested in sports…” And if your kidling is younger, you’ll likely compare him to charts. You’ll compare his height to growth charts and his cognitive abilities to a development chart. A development chart can be useful for tracking your child’s speech and language development.
However, it’s important to avoid overreacting if your child appears to be lagging a bit behind for his peer group. Every child is unique. Being a little behind the targets on the development chart does not automatically mean that your child has a speech disorder or delay. However, it’s always best to schedule an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to be on the safe side. If your child does need a little extra help, he’ll benefit the most from speech therapy earlier rather than later. There are many speech therapy techniques that can help your child, such as Speech Buddies for articulation practice.