Delayed speech in children can be due to different factors. In some cases, the delay is caused by oral or hearing problems. The delay is also highly possible for a child with an autism spectrum disorder. In consideration of all these possibilities, parents should be proactive in honing their child’s speech and communication skills. Speech development starts at home, and steps can be done to check a child’s progress.
Parents should create an environment that encourages a child to react and speak. Talking, reading stories, playing music, showing videos, singing, or imitating sounds will be helpful. What’s important at this stage is for the child to interact with the world through sound and speech. If the child doesn’t imitate sounds or speak after a few tries, mom or dad should understand that it might take time. Adults should make it a point to speak simple and few words so for the child to easily understand what they are saying. Three to five-word responses are good enough for toddlers.
Forcing the child to talk could cause the child to feel overwhelmed. Though some children can’t speak a lot of words, they show non-verbal reactions. This could be an indicator that though there is a delay in speech, a child can understand and respond well.
If parents feel that there is no progress in this developmental aspect, seeking the help of a child neurologist, a speech-language pathologist (SLP), or an otologist can point out the exact reason for the delay in speech.
Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. Visit this page for more information on Dr. Cripe and his work.