As your child grows up you get excited to hear him say a few words. It is huge fun to hear baby language and to know what is happening inside her little brain. Many kids start talking a few words when they reach the age of 1 year. By this time they start speaking single words. There are some kids who do not speak by this age. So a question crops up, is my child a late talker or is there another problem?
What is normal?
Below mentioned are the five milestones that should be achieved by a normal baby. (This list does not apply to kids who had developmental delays like Cerebral palsy, Autism, Down syndrome or childhood apraxia) ;
1. At 12 months the child should start babbling. The child should show the urge of trying to communicate.
2. At 18 months she should be able to speak atleast one word. Like daddy, mommie, dada, dadi, uncle, aunty etc, one word at a time. The child’s vocabulary should have atleast 20 words.
3. At 24 months she should frequently use words and gestures to communicate her needs.
4. At 30 months she should have a vocabulary of atleast 100 words and should try to speak two words at a time like doggy gone, thank you, yes yes, no no etc.
5. At 36 months she should be able to communicate in gestures which even strangers can understand. At this time she should be trying to talk in sentences.
Common reasons for kids to talk late
There can be various reasons leading to late development of speech in kids, some of them are;
1. Usually boys talk later than girls. There is a normal gap of 2 months between boys and girls age of starting to talk.
2. Premature babies reach their developmental milestones later than full term babies. One should always consider a kid’s due date rather than her birth date to judge her developmental skills. Many a times according to birth date your child is talking late but if you consider her age according to her due date she might be doing just fine.
3. Multiple birth like twins, triplets and more may have speech delays.
4. Kids with ear infections. If your kid is not talking then you should first look out for signs that is she hearing what is being said to her? Is she able to respond (in any manner) to whatever is being told to her?
5. Sometimes children tend to perfect other skills like walking or crawling eventually taking off the attention from learning communication skills.
6. Family history of late talkers or heredity. In this case a help from specialist should be taken at the age of 2 years.
How to cope with late talking kids
At the onset the parents have to ensure that the kid is hearing everything perfectly. Sometimes if the child has even a little hearing problem than it can become a huge reason for speech delay.
Doctors recommend waiting till 21/2 years or 30 months before consulting a speech-language pathologist.
Helping the kids to speak.
As a parent till the time baby has perfected the art of communicating you should always try to talk as much as you can with the kid. Read out stories to her, make her hear songs, let her go out and play with friends. Sometimes listening to peers also helps the kids to get the motivation of communicating.
Reduce the television,mobile or tablet time. When kids watch these audio visual gadgets they get confused with the speed of things happening and they tend to lose the touch of reality. In TV a ball is thrown from one side and it immediately reaches the other whereas in reality the kid has to master many motor skills to throw the ball and later catch it. Too much gadget time can disillusion a child.
Late talkers should have more human interactions then technological interactions. With this human touch they will be motivated to communicate their needs just like her elders.
Be patient. Do not express your disappoint to the kid. The kid will be depressed if she realizes that her parents are let down by her. Try to encourage her more. Always remember that Albert Einstein was also a late talker. Late talking is not a major issue. Usually by the age of 5 years these kids behave like their normal peers. Just be calm and give the child some time.