Why is my child’s speech delayed?

Many parents have shared concerns with us about their children’s speech delays. Parents have been worried that there are underlying reasons to the lack of progress in their child’s speech development.

Here at metrochildren we are also concerned about your child’s speech development. According to an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association factors such as the child’s inborn ability to learn language, other skills the child is learning, the amount and kind of language the child hears, and how people respond to communication attempts can slow down or accelerate the speed of speech and language development. This makes it difficult to say with certainty where any young child’s speech and language development will be in 3 months, or 1 year.

Parent who are seeking help for their children should see a speech-language pathologist certified by the American Speech – Language-Hearing Association for a professional evaluation. The speech-language pathologist may want to schedule a re-evaluation right then. In more severe cases, the speech-language pathologist may want the parent and child to become involved in an early intervention program. The programs typically consist of demonstrating language stimulation techniques for home use, and more frequent monitoring of the child’s progress. In the most severe cases, a more formal treatment program may be recommended.

Here are some activities that a parent can take to stimulate child speech and language:

  • Encourage your baby to make vowel-like and consonant-vowel sound such as “ma,” “da,” and “ba.”
  • Reinforce attempts by maintaining eye contact, responding with speech, and imitating vocalizations using different patterns and emphasis. For example, raise the pitch of your voice to indicate a question.
  • Imitate your baby’s laughter and facial expressions.
  • Teach your baby to imitate your actions, including clapping you hands, throwing kisses, and playing finger games such as pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and the itsy-bitsy-spider.
  • Talk as you bathe, feed, and dress your baby. Talk about what you are doing, where you are going, what you will do when you arrive, and who and what you will see.