“My Child is STILL not talking”
As a mother and a Speech Pathologist, I can completely understand the dread that parents feel at the notion that something is “wrong” with their child’s development. You can imagine my mortification when, at a Child Health Nurse appointment, it was indicated that my son needed referral to Speech Pathology! I instantly blamed myself, but I was forgetting one thing…. I was TIRED! I had been running on empty for over a year. I would sit with baby at home and could not remember the lyrics to any of the songs I had sung effortlessly in clinic.
Through my foggy brain, I drew on my Speech Pathology skills and thought of some things I could do with my child each day…
– Making language more simple during play
– Getting down on the floor with my child so I could see his face
– Repeat, repeat, repeat… until you feel like you are going crazy! (children need to hear words many times before they start to use them)
Fortunately these helped, and his language development progressed. Now at the age of 4, he is a complete chatterbox and there is no stopping him!
After this experience, I would suggest that if you are concerned…
– Be kind to yourself, you are doing the best you can!
– Get help and CALL A SPEECH PATHOLOGIST! It may be useful to get a professional to see your child and provide some expert tips to build into your day.
– DON’T “wait and see” these early years are critical for language development – the time to act is when you are worried!
I’ll finish with a brief summary of the language milestones (they come from our professional board, Speech Pathology Australia – not “Dr Google”).
- A baby’s first communication is smiling, giggling …and obviously crying! (this all happens between birth and 4 months old).
- Next on the radar are the typical cooing noises, vocal play (squealing etc.) and babbling (e.g. bababa)
- Bub will start using simple words by the age of 1 (about 10)
- 18 months is where things get interesting! There is typically a huge “burst” of language learning and a child’s vocabulary increases to over 50 words by the age of 2. Children’s brains, at this age, are like sponges that soak up language that they are exposed to!
- At the age of 2 and above vocabulary steadily increases, and more complex sentences are also noticed.
Of course, this is a very brief overview and it is important to realize that there is a massive range of what is considered normal. You know your child best so go with your gut and make the call!
Katie Milton – Speech Pathologist
Credit: Speech Pathology Australia