Speech delay can be a growing concern for parents, as it may affect a child’s communication skills and overall development.
Identifying speech delay early on can help parents seek appropriate interventions and support for their child.
These are guides to seven key indicators that can help parents recognise if their child has a speech delay below:
1. Limited or Absent Babbling
Babbling is an essential precursor to speech development.
If your child has limited or no babbling sounds by 12 months, it could be an early sign of speech delay.
Most children at this stage begin to produce repetitive syllables like “ba-ba” or “da-da.”
2. Lack Of Gesture And Pointing
Around 12 to 15 months, children typically start using gestures like pointing to communicate their needs or interests.
If your child consistently avoids or shows difficulty in using gestures, it might indicate a delay in language development.
3. Limited Vocabulary
By 18 to 24 months, most children have a vocabulary of around 20 words or more.
If your child’s language remains limited or shows no significant progress in word acquisition over time, it could indicate speech delay.
4. Difficulty Forming Sounds And Words
As children grow, they should progressively improve their ability to form sounds and words.
If your child consistently struggles to pronounce sounds or has difficulty combining them into words, it may suggest a speech delay.
Everyday speech sound errors, such as substituting one sound for another, can also be red flags.
5. Inability To Follow Simple Instructions
Around the age of 2, children should be able to understand and follow simple instructions, such as “Please bring me the ball” or “Put your shoes on.”
If your child consistently fails to comprehend or respond appropriately to such instructions, it may indicate a language delay.
6. Limited Social Interaction And Engagement
Language skills are closely linked to social interaction and engagement.
Children with speech delays may exhibit limited eye contact, difficulty initiating or maintaining conversations, and reduced social interaction compared to their peers.
These signs can be indicative of underlying speech and language challenges.
7. Lack Of Progression In Language Skills
Pay attention to your child’s overall progression in language skills.
If you notice a lack of significant improvement or regression in their speech and language abilities over time, it is essential to consult with a speech-language pathologist or paediatrician for further evaluation.
If you notice any of the mentioned signs in your child’s speech and language development, it is recommended to seek professional guidance.
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