One of the most common questions I hear from mothers is about her toddler’s speech development. When should you begin to worry if your child isn’t speaking well?
According to childdevelopmentinfo.com, by the age of 1 year, a toddler should be able to use one or more words with meaning. For example, if they pick up a shoe and say, “Shoe,” then they have given the word meaning. They should also begin to understand simple instructions. If they come to you when you say, “Come here,” then they understand.
Please note though that this is a basic chart. It by no means covers all toddlers. Children develop at different rates. While one child at 1 year may be able to say a few words, it doesn’t mean that all toddlers will be able to.
But what if your toddler is two and still isn’t speaking well? For the most part, it is too early to be concerned. What is and isn’t speech delay in a two year old is a very broad subject. It can often be confusing as well because toddlers will not be consistent in their surroundings. For instance, they may connect the word shoe with the actual object at one time, then another time, when you ask her what it is, she won’t say anything. It is frustrating for parents who want nothing more then to ensure that their children are healthy and developing at a normal rate.
For instance, when my oldest son was two, he didn’t speak more then a few words. He could understand what I was telling him but refused to verbally tell me what he wanted. I went through numerous worries about his speech development but as it turns out, he was just developing at his own pace. Now, at age 3 1/2, he jabbers constantly about anything and everything and has no problem expressing himself verbally when he wants something.
It is true that speech delay can be an indicator of other more serious disorders or ailments, especially if a sibling or other family member has had a problem of the same magnitude. But more often then not, a simple speech delay is just that; a delay and like many delays will catch up in its own time. Pretty soon, when your toddler does begin talking well, you won’t be able to hush him up.
Follow your own instinct when dealing with a speech delay. Your toddler may not talk well but does she understand you when you talk? Can she follow simple instructions?
If you are still a little more then concerned about your toddler’s speech development, get in touch with your local health department. Most states have programs that will evaluate your child for a significant speech delay for free as well as give free speech therapy sessions for toddlers that need it. This is ideal for households with no insurance. If you do have private insurance, though, it would be better for you to go to a private speech pathologist to get an evaluation and subsequent therapy if needed.
Sources: Personal Experience
Child Development Info.com