It’s not uncommon for parents to panic about their children’s milestones. They may not think their child is developing fast enough, and thoughts about GP and kids’ speech therapy expert visits can flood parents’ minds.
Being mindful of your child’s development is all part of being a parent, but in the realm of speech, there are signs to look out for to see whether your child is on the right track or not. Read on to learn what steps to take if you suspect that your child is a late talker.
How Do You Define a Late Talker?
In the kids’ speech therapy world, a late talker is a child that, between the age of 18 and 30 months, can understand language but does not say many words or talk as much as other children around the same age. Their thinking skills, play skills, and motor skills may all be in check, but speech may seem like it’s lagging.
By age one, a child should know between two and six words and up to 50 by the time they are 18 months old. A two-year-old’s vocabulary can include between 200 and 300 words, while a three-year-old should ideally know at least 1,000 words. By the time your child is four, it’s common for them to know around 1,600 words.
Knowing a few less than those guidelines may not be cause for alarm, but far less can mean it’s essential to make an appointment with your GP for a referral to an expert in kids’ speech therapy.
How Can A Speech Therapist Help?
As a parent, if you suspected that your child is a late talker, you may have made an appointment with your GP or went straight to a language and speech therapy for advice. Therapy techniques for a late talker can depend on how severe the language delay is and the age of the child. Methods can also differ in therapy sessions and a home environment.
They may also recommend extra things you can be doing at home to jumpstart speech, such as reading to your child, reviewing events from their day, walking with them and talking about what you see, and enjoying distraction-free meals with family.
Giving your child plenty of opportunities to talk in a distraction-free zone without screens or interruptions can be the very thing they need to expand their vocabulary.
Therapists carry out a range of in-session activities to help late talkers, too. These may include interaction through play, books, and objects, and encouragement to use syllables and sounds. Techniques can differ, depending on the severity of the problem.
It can be a stressful time for any parent who is worried about their child’s speech and language progress, but help is nearby. Get in touch with an expert in kids’ speech therapy, or your GP, for advice on what steps to take to help your child. There are plenty of options out there to assist families through every stage of development.