For my next blog topic, I will answer the question that many parents ask; "Is this just a speech delay or is it something more?".
Parents are familiar with the checklists they can fill out regarding the language skills of their child, and pediatricians often ask additional questions regarding the development of speech and language and social skills of their child. But
did you know that in regards to language development there is much more to consider than how many words your toddler is saying?
Did you know that there are indicators that can identify if a child is experiencing more difficulties than just a speech/language delay? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an immediate referral for further developmental evaluation when we see these red flags for communication skills in babies and toddlers:
6 months: Difficulty making and maintaining eye contact with an adult and no big smiles or other warm joyful expressions during interaction with another person.
9 months: A lack of back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions and no response to their names
12 months: No babbling, no back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving
16 months: No single words
18 months: Not following simple, familiar directions, and saying less than 8-10 words
24 months: Not using at least 50 words, not combining words into meaningful two-word phrases without imitating/repeating, and decreased interest in social interactions with others.
30 months: No back-and-forth conversational turn-taking, such as answering questions.
36 months: No simple sentences, and strangers have difficulty understanding what a child is saying
ANY age: Loss of babbling, words, or social skills (like eye contact)
If your child exhibits any of the above delays, my recommendation is to seek professional help immediately. Talk with your pediatrician or health care provider about your concerns and ask for help.
It is never to early to have a developmental professional assess and work with you and your child. More and more research studies are proving the benefits of early help for toddlers and young children! In my practice, I firmly believe in empowering parents to be an active part of helping their child. I have seen so many young children make significant gains within just a few therapy sessions. If you have questions about any skill on this list or any other concerns regarding language or speech skills in your child, contact me for a complimentary consultation to discuss your concerns.
Staci Henderson, M.S. CCC-SLP is the owner of Speech Nest, a pediatric speech therapy practice in Frisco Texas. Staci has worked with children in a variety of settings and enjoys sharing her expertise with the families she works with.
Resources: Let's Talk About Talking by Laura Mize, 2017