- What Is Considered Normal?
- When Should Your Little One Go to Speech Therapy for Kids?
- Exercises for Speech Development of the Child
Children develop at unique paces. However, if you feel like your toddler is developing slower than others, you can take him/her for speech therapy for kids. Learn more about this in our comprehensive article!
Children develop in many different ways that are hard to keep up with. Meanwhile, when you spend time with other parents and their kids, you may feel that the differences between them can be astonishing. Since kids develop at their own pace, this is not the right way to judge their development. But, you can set up certain milestones that they need to meet.
When your child does not reach the milestone, it is natural for you to become anxious. And why wouldn’t it – it is very worrying if your child does not start speaking when most other kids do. In this case, speech therapy is an appropriate solution. While the reason may also be that your kid is not ready yet, speech therapy activities are an available solution.
What Is Considered Normal?
Speech therapy is a method aimed at improving kids’ speech, their ability to recognize the language. It is also designed to eliminate problems such as poor articulation of certain sounds, stuttering, phonological and vocal disorders.
Experts suggest the following milestones that are considered normal for toddlers and babies:
- It is normal for babies under the age of 1-year to interact with their environment by making random sounds. These sounds are the precursors to speech.
- After 12-15 months, toddlers will start imitating the parent’s native language and even start saying single words. They become capable of following one-step and simple directions.
- From 18-months to 2 years, toddlers start exploring new vocabulary and can put two words together, like ’round ball’.
- Speech usually takes off between 2-3 years. Comprehension and vocabulary also increase. If not, it is time for your child to know what is speech therapy like.
When Should Your Little One Go to Speech Therapy for Kids?
Here are some speech therapy tips that may help you understand when your child needs to see a therapist.
Language and speech are fundamentally linked to other communication forms. Hence, you will be able to detect some red flags early on, even if your child is a long way from talking. The earliest sign of communication problems is that your child has minimum interaction with other people within the first three months. At this stage, a child is expected to make eye contact and/or smile. So, an absence of these cues is worth checking.
Between 3 and 12 months, the toddler should start playing with other people, making gestures, and babbling. If not, it is advised that you take the child to a speech therapist. The sooner you can identify the problem, the faster and more successfully you will look into them. To know whether does speech therapy really works, you will only know after the process.
In this age group, children will start learning new words. While the vocabulary will be minimal, they should be expected to say some words. Additionally, the child is also expected to engage actively with others as well as use a lot of gestures like shaking their head or pointing their fingers.
As your child reaches the age of 2 years, his/her vocabulary will start expanding. Apart from learning new words, they will be able to speak multiple words together. While they may not be proper sentences, they should be able to use words to convey a message, like if they want to have the best gifts for 2-year-old girl.
It is perfectly normal for children in this age group to mispronounce words and will continue to do so until the age of 6-years. But, you will still be able to understand the toddler without much difficulty. On the other hand, if you cannot understand what they are trying to say, it is time to take them to speech therapy for kids.
At this age group, it should be very clear whether your child is having speaking problems or not. Perhaps the ultimate sign is that their vocabulary is still limited, and they cannot use multiple words in a sentence. Another sign is a low level of interaction like not understanding information or instructions, not answering questions, not pointing to pictures when asked, etc. While mispronunciation will be present, two ubiquitous signs of speech problems include rarely using consonants and mispronouncing vowels. This is exactly when to start speech therapy.
Exercises for Speech Development of the Child
Remember that children learn to speak at an individual pace, so you do not need to put pressure on them. These exercises should be used only if the child likes them. No need to force the child to perform them.
By age 2
At this age, the child can not yet speak, but only makes some sounds. Therefore, you cannot know for sure whether she needs language therapy. But you can teach your child certain exercises to teach him to pronounce sounds and syllables:
- pronounce the syllables “ma”, “ba”, “pa”. The child will repeat them after you;
- pretend that you are talking to your child when he makes sounds. Repeat the sounds behind her – it encourages her to “talk” more;
- teach a child to clap their hands;
- talk to your baby while bathing or feeding. You can talk about anything, the main thing – talk;
- use gestures: wave and point to objects;
- talk to your child clearly so that he learns this from you;
- repeat what the child tells you so that he understands that you understand him;
- teach your child to ask questions to understand what they have heard. Play the game “yes or no”. The child should ask questions, and you answer them “yes” or “no”;
- put a few items in a box. Then ask the child to get the items one by one, name them and tell why they are needed.
Ask the child to read a sentence aloud, saying each word slowly.
Yes, it is a very worrying thought if your child is not developing at the normal pace. However, it is just as vital that you do not live in denial. While there are many reasons why your child is developing slower than others, it will not be the deciding factor on their quality of life in the future. As parents, you must address potential development and health issues as soon as possible. You will be amazed to learn how speech therapy helps. Hence, if you notice or suspect your child may be facing some difficulties, it is advised that you seek professional help.
What are your thoughts on speech therapy for kids? Leave a comment below!