Speech is one of the significant milestones for a growing child; however, this milestone is achieved at different levels at a certain age. For instance, a six-month-old child will begin to babble is a sign of speech first speech milestone and will probably say their first simple words between 10 months and 15 months. And in later stages, they will start to pick up a few but increasing numbers of simple words and at around 18 months they will start to create simple sentences.

Every child will develop certain levels of speech, language, and communication at his or her own pace. However, when a child does not talk as much as most of the children of his or her age, he or she may have a speech delay.

What is speech delay and should you be worried about it?

A typical 2-year-old child can speak at least 50 words and at 2-3 word-combined sentences. And at the age of 3, his or her vocabulary will boost up to 1000 words at 3-4 word-combined sentences. However, that is not the case with children having a speech delay.

Speech delay is different from language delay; the former is the child’s inability or difficulty in producing intelligible speech sounds, while the latter, on the other hand, is a communication disorder, where the child is unable or has slow ability to understand or use the spoken language at the usual age period in their developmental milestones.

How to tell that your child has a speech delay?

If your child is having difficulties with the following speech milestones, you should bring him or her to the experts:

  • At 12 months old, the child is not using gestures such as waving “bye-bye” or unable to point.
  • At 18 months, the child would often use gestures to communicate than vocalization.
  • At 18 months, the child is having difficulties imitating sounds and has trouble comprehending easy verbal requests.
  • At 24 months or 2 years, the child is unable to make a simple phrase and having difficulties with words. However, he or she communicates through imitation of words or actions.
  • At 2 years, the child will use gestures to communicate.
  • At 2 years, the child has difficulties in following simple directions or requests.
  • At 2 years, the child will try to speak, however with a nasal-sounding voice.

Should you be worried if your child has a speech delay?

Keep in mind that when a child is diagnosed with speech delay, it doesn’t always indicate an underlying serious health condition. Speech delay can be caused by the following conditions that are also treatable and or manageable:

  • Speech delay may indicate problems with the mouth, palate, or tongue.
  • Hearing loss
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • Elective mutism (the child doesn’t want to talk for a specific reason)

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If you think your child may have speech delay, you should seek medical advice for effective treatment or activities to boost your child’s speech development. In fact, there are a lot of speech activities that you can discover more here.

So, keep your calm, look for an expert’s advice, and be your child’s voice for the meantime until they find theirs.