Question: “My daughter is nearly two and a half, and she is still not talking well at all. The other kids her age at her day care centre are so much more communicative, and she really just seems far behind. Should I start getting worried about my late talker? Or not?”
If that question speaks to you and describes your child’s predicament, then know this that you’re not alone. Speech delays are concerning for all parents of toddlers, specially when every kid you know is jabbering away like magpies. Sure we all know, that intellectually speaking, comparison of children is not wise at all; but it is hard to resist, right?
In toddler developmental phases, talking is different for every child. Even in twins, often proper talking stage is achieved at varied times. If your toddler is climbing or jumping since he was a year old but mastering the spoken word is raking time, relax and let him be. It is just because of his fo on other more physically-intensive activities than it is on talking to you.
Also, children in a household with multiple spoken languages and/or in a house with siblings that are ready to anticipate every need of the child, these tiny tots take more time to speak up properly.
Know one thing though – late talkers do as well in school later on, as early talkers do. So don’t worry about your child’s developmental issues.
Does My Toddler Require Speech Therapy?
Toddlers are often struggling with the pronunciation of different words and have a tough time putting together complete sentences, that is when you will need speech therapy for toddlers. But there are certain early signs that can help you detect whether you have a late talker on your hands or a child that needs some professional help in the form of a proficient speech therapist.
- Watch out exactly how your child responds to whatever you or your partner says to him or her. Does she get the meaning of, “Are you hungry?”, or “Let’s play ball”?
- Is your toddler able to grasp simple commands like, “Please bring me that doll”?
- What about non-verbal communication – has she started pointing at things she wants?
These are all positive signs that indicate that your toddler is just blooming late, but otherwise all is good with them. But if he/she doesn’t respond to your verbal and non-verbal cues, no matter how much you try, then an evaluation by a certified speech therapist or a language pathologist may be in order.
Signs that All is Not Well with Your Toddler’s Speech Pattern
A toddler below the age of 3 will typically mispronounce a lot of words and that is quite normal. But if your child’s communication patterns show no sign of improving then you can raise the red flag.
If your toddler is over 20 months old and shows any if the following signs, have them evaluated soon:
- He does not react normally or consistently to different sounds like a vacuum or someone telling his name.
- She is mispronouncing all vowels, like saying ‘coo’, instead of ‘cow’.
- He omits consonants while talking to you.
- She may use a new word once and then not use it all again, or frequently.
- He does not point or react to common objects in his books, like a toy or a clock.
- She does not show any signs of frustration if she doesn’t realises what you want. She would simply get the object herself or give up.
- His month-to-month progress is super slow.
- Learning bye-bye or simple games like a peek-a-boo is a hurdle.
- She has not progressed from single words to complete sentences till now.
- He repeats part of what you ask of him or just nods his head.