As a parent with a baby, you may find yourself looking eagerly forward to the day your child says their first word.
Will it be “mama”, “dada”, or something else entirely?
If you’re an experienced parent, you know that some children start speaking earlier than others and in most cases there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, if your child is falling behind and shows no signs of progress, they may have a speech or language developmental delay.
Here at our Washington DC speech therapy clinic for kids, we hear from parents all the time who are unsure if their child is meeting their speech or language milestones or if they may be developmentally behind in speech or language.
It’s completely normal for parents to be anxious about their child’s growth and development.
If you suspect your child might have a developmental speech or language delay, Voz Speech Therapy can help.
Not only can we help your child, but we also provide parent coaching speech therapy, so you can be involved and empowered when it comes to helping your child learn to speak.
Read on to discover more about speech or language developmental delays, and what milestones you should expect for your young child.
What Is A Speech Developmental Delay?
A speech or language developmental delay occurs when your child’s speech isn’t developing at a typically expected rate.
There are many different causes for a speech or language developmental delay, but no matter the cause, if you suspect your child has a speech or language developmental delay, it’s a good idea to book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today.
The early intervention speech therapy program is particularly effective at helping kids with developmental delays, so the sooner you book an appointment, the better.
But how do you know whether your child is falling behind?
Read on to find out some of the developmental milestones you can expect your child to reach.
Speech Developmental Milestones By Age
It’s important to remember that not every child hits all their speech development milestones at the same time.
If your child is a little bit behind, it’s not always cause for concern.
This is especially the case if they’re showing progress toward these milestones.
However, if the date has long passed and they haven’t even begun to progress, it’s time to book an appointment.
At 3 Months Old
It might seem strange to think of speech or language in terms of a three month old baby.
After all, babies don’t speak.
And while it’s true that babies don’t speak in words, they should still be able to vocalize and communicate by using a variety of non-verbal skills.
Generally, a three month old should be able to smile when they see you, make cooing sounds, recognize your voice, and cry in different ways for different needs.
Failing to meet these milestones may be an early sign your child needs autism speech therapy.
At 6 Months Old
Don’t worry – by six months old you don’t need to expect your baby to talk yet, either.
By six months old, you might notice your baby try to imitate speaking by babbling, though.
A six month old child may also make gurgling sounds when playing with you and use their voice and tone to express pleasure and displeasure.
They should also interact more with the sounds they hear by this age.
For example, by six months old your child should generally be able to tell which of their toys make sounds and which don’t.
You might notice that they’re able to respond to changes to the tone of your voice, that they move their eyes in the direction of the sounds they hear, and you may even notice them paying attention to music.
At 12 Months Old
By the end of twelve months, your child might be able to speak a few simple words, like “mama” and “dada”.
They should be able to understand simple instructions, like “come here” and recognize words for common items, like “shoe” or “apple”.
You’ll also find them turning their heads and body in the directions of sounds, instead of just their eyes.
Most children will try imitating speech sounds at this age, too, even if the sounds aren’t real words yet.
At 18 Months Old
By the end of eighteen months, most children will be able to say as many as ten to twenty words.
Your child may also be able to recognize even more common words, such as names of people, everyday objects, and body parts.
At this age, your child should be able to follow simple directions that are accompanied by body gestures, and they may also be able to nonverbally answer simple questions by nodding their head or pointing.
At 2 Years Old
By the end of their second year of age, your child might be able to use simple phrases and ask simple questions, like “more please” or “go bye?”
While your child’s speech may not be clear to everyone, by this age they are usually able to speak well enough to be understood by their primary caregivers at least half the time and may have up to 200 words in their vocabulary.
Why Isn’t Your Child Meeting Their Speech Developmental Milestones?
There are a few reasons why your child may not be meeting their speech developmental milestones, but it’s important to remember that not all children develop at the same rate.
If your child is missing speech milestones, a common reason is hearing loss.
If children can’t clearly hear the word around them, they can’t learn how to mimic the sounds they hear as speech.
There are many degrees of hearing loss, but even mild hearing loss can cause developmental speech delays.
Another common reason for speech delays is that your child has a developmental disorder.
Since developmental disorders impact the way your child’s brain develops, it may also impact their speech skills.
Other possible causes include:
- Expressive and receptive language disorders
- Selective mutism
- Cerebral palsy
- Tongue tie
- Orofacial myofunctional disorders
- Chronic ear infections
- Down syndrome
- And more
Your child’s speech therapist will work to uncover the underlying cause of your child’s developmental delay, and get them back on track.
Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today
No matter the age of your child or the degree of their developmental speech or language delay, at Voz Speech Therapy we can help.
Our experienced speech therapists can work with your child to aid them in developing their speech and language skills, and we can also work with you as a parent to support your child as they learn.
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005
Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.