These are the top five reasons why it’s best to seek support for speech development as soon as a delay is recognized:
1. To avoid misbehavior that develops as a result of frustration from the inability to communicate.
2. To increase the child's ability to effectively communicate wants and needs to you, your family and extended family, caregivers, and the child's peers.
3. To decrease the effect on the child's social and academic skills. Early speech and language intervention can help children be more successful with reading, writing, school work, and interpersonal relationships.
4. The earlier the child's speech and language problems are identified and treated, the less likely it is that the problems will persist or get worse.
5. The brain grows at it’s fastest rate during the early years of life. The sooner intervention begins, the more receptive and responsive a child’s brain will be. This can lead to quicker progress and a shorter duration of therapy.
When to seek a screening for your child's Speech and Language Development:
By 12 months a child should:
- Have 1-2 words (i.e. mama, dada, bye)
- Recognize familiar words (i.e. cup, shoe)
- Respond to requests (i.e. "come here" or "more")
- Babble with both long and short groups of sounds with a mix of consonants
- Imitate different sounds.
- Few vocalizations
- No sound play or babbling
- No pointing or gesturing
- Only vowels in vocalizations (i.e. ahh, ee, oh, oo)
- No response to voice or word
By 15 months a child should:
- Say more words each month with a vocabulary of 5-20 words comprised mainly of nouns (i.e. car, ball, dog).
- Be able to follow simple commands without cues.
Speak to a Speech Language Pathologist if your 15 month old has:
- No communicative gestures (i.e. pointing or pulling)
- No imitative skills
- Limited consonants in speech
- No response to parent's vocalizations or directions with cues
- No response to their name
By 18 months a child should:
- Say between 25-50 words
- Point to body parts
- Listen to simple stories, songs, and rhymes
- Point to pictures in a book when named
- Use many different consonants at the beginning of the word
- Follow simple directions
- Understand familiar questions
Speak to a Speech Language Pathologist if your 18 month old has:
- Limited variety of consonants
- Vowel distortions
- Few words
- Limited imitation
By 24 months a child should:
- Have more than 250 words
- Understand differences in meanings of words (i.e. in/out, go/stop, up/down)
- Follow 2 step directions (i.e. "get your shoes and put them by the door")
- Use 2-3 word phrases
- Ask for or direct attention to objects by naming them
Speak to a Speech Language Pathologist if your 24 month old has:
- No language explosion (by 30 months)
- Unintelligible speech
- Small vocabulary
- No simple 2-word combinations by 27 months
Jessica Braley Keenan, MA, CCC-SLP, EIS
Source: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association at asha.org
If you have concerns about your child’s speech development, visit us for a free screening at BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy in Orland Park or Naperville. You can submit your request to schedule online or call 708-478-1820.