The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) is raising awareness about “red flags” for signs of language delay especially in the summer months when parents have more one on one time with their children. Language allows us to express our thoughts and is crucial for academic learning. This is why early intervention is so important.
ASHA has set basic guidelines which tell us that at 1 year of age a child should have single words like “ball, up, momma.” At 2 years of age, a child should begin to combine 2 words like “go bye-bye, doggy bark.” At 3 years of age the child should be speaking in complete sentences and the speech should be relatively clear; however grammar skills are not completely accurate.
If a parent is having concerns; they should listen to their gut level feelings. If the child is not reaching the speech and language developmental norms, they can contact a speech-language pathologist and discuss their concerns to determine if an evaluation is needed. Most speech pathologists perform evaluations and develop therapy based on the findings, so each child’s individual needs are met. Therapy is fun for the young child with floor time and engaging activities. The child has fun while learning and they acquire the speech and language skills they need.
Speech and Language Tips for Parents
Talk about what your child is doing. During play, label and expand. For instance: “Car; the car is going fast. Go car go. The car is under the chair.”
Talk about what you are doing when you are doing it; this teaches vocabulary, grammar, sequencing, and problem solving. For instance, “I’m putting the bread into the toaster, now I’m spreading the butter then the jelly. This is delicious.”
Allow time for turn taking with talking and listening to teach conversational skills and social skills.
Encourage your child to be a story teller even if s/he cannot read the words.
Read to your child and ask questions about what they see in the pictures, take turns describing the pictures, and predict what might happen.
At the market, categorize the items such as fruits, vegetables, cereals.
Schedule and structure playdates for success. Encourage joining activities such as sports, drama, dance, arts and crafts to promote social communication.