Children learn to speak at varying paces due to differences in their mental development. Some people have discovered that their child understands spoken words, and yet are limited in the number of words they can articulate in response. They just don't possess a wide range of vocabulary like the other kids, who are now forming complete sentences. As a consequence, the parents are exasperated that they can't teach their child to repeat back words, unsure of why he or she was being very quiet, instead of playing with the other kids at the nursery.
Many parents are unaware of speech delay and the signs that point to its manifestation in infants from 5 to 12 months old.
According to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, children who don't meet predetermined speech milestones - an example being speaking three to five words by their first birthday - it probably does point to speech delay.
Of course, there are other symptoms to watch out for:
- Does the child prefer to play alone?
- Are they not expressing themselves using hand gestures and making noises?
- Do they seem confused when other kids are addressing them?
- Are they unwilling to engage another child in playing with toys and games at age 2 or above?
Some parents have reported that speech therapy changed their child's behavior from throwing tantrums and biting their nails to making hand gestures that conveyed what they want or need from an adult. A speech pathologist will teach children how to communicate directly by reading short stories to them and asking them questions about the story with multiple-choice answers.
The goal is to help kids who are slower at learning to speak, build their self-esteem until they feel comfortable participating in group activities, including peer discussions or answering questions in front of the class.
If interested in learning more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.
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