Speech and Language development can be so varied and there are so many elements included (speech sounds, comprehension, attention and listening skills, vocabulary, sentence structure, social skills....).

As a parent, you may have a niggling concern about your child's language development and can't quite put your finger on what exactly it is.  Or perhaps someone else is concerned and you don't understand why.  Either way, at the very least an inital assessment with a Speech Therapist can be really useful to clarify if there is reason for your concern or not.  

Knowing what is and isn't normal when it comes to language and speech development is extremely important, so we've broken down five important red flags to look out for. Here, some signs your child might need speech therapy. 

1. Your Child Doesn't Interact Socially.

If your baby isn't smiling or interacting with others from infancy to 3 months of age, it could be a red flag for a speech or language disorder. Other early social interaction signs to look out for:

  • Your infant doesn't babble (bewteen 4 and 7 months).
  • Your baby makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (between 7 and 12 months).
  • Your infant doesn't seem to understand what you or others are saying (between 7 months and 2 years old).

2. Your Toddler Makes Only a Few Sounds, Words, or Gestures (12 to 18 months). 

Most kids are starting to say a few single words between a year and 18 months. Between 1 1/2 and 2, they're typically putting words together. If your child isn't saying anything, or has an extremely limited repertoire of words, he or she may have a speech disorder.

3. You (and Others) Can't Understand What Your Child Is Saying (18 months to 2 years). It isn't uncommon for mums and dads to be the only people who understand what their toddler is saying, but between 18 months and 2 years, parents shouldn't have too much difficulty deciphering what their child is saying. By age two years, speech should be clear to familiar listeners.

4. Your Child Hasn't Started to Combine 2 or More Words Together By the Age of 2. 

Usually, children begin combining two or more words together to make "sentences" at about 18 months: "My ball." "Come Mama." If between the ages of 1 1/2 and 3, children aren't pairing two or more words with one another, parents may want to consult a Speech Therapist

5. Your Child Struggles to Make Sounds or Say Words (2 1/2 to 4 years). 

Some sounds are harder to pronounce than others. For instance, a "K" or a "G" sound doesn't roll off the tongue for an 18-month-old (or even some 2-year-olds). Easier sounds, like 'P,' 'B,' and 'M,' shouldn't be a problem for children after the age of 2. If your 2 1/2-year-old is still having trouble with "easier" sounds, or your 3- to 4-year-old is having trouble with "harder" sounds, you should seek professional advice.

At Giant Leaps advice is always free! If you are concerned about any aspect of your child's speech and language development TALK TO US today. 

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Posted: Friday 13 May 2016