I have a 2.9 year old daughter who doesn’t have a lot of language. She says about 50 words, I think she has a speech delay. What should I do?
The first thing we want to say is we are not speech pathologists and that you should talk to your child’s pediatrician. They will most likely recommend for you to have your daughter’s hearing checked first. The second step may be to have her evaluated by a licensed speech pathologists. Thank you for reaching out to us; it is important to catch delays early.
That being said every child meets developmental milestones at different rates. Late talkers can be a child between the ages of 18 to 30 months, who is developing typically in play, social, thinking and motor skills but is limited in spoken words. There are some things you can do to help your child’s language development. One of the first things you can do is exposing them to more words. Some other tips are…
- Slow down; when you talk with your child try to slow down and have your child watch you speak.
- Talk more: talk to your child throughout the day, point out things at home the grocery store, on a walk. Keep your sentences short and sweet.
- Get Down at His/Her Level and Make Eye Contact; showing your child that you want to hear what they have to say.
- Parent’s Speech. Label objects and actions in the environment and in pictures. Use slow, simple speech when talking to your child. Never talk “baby talk” to your child, but instead always use real words. For example, say “bottle” rather than “baba.”
- Read more books; pick out books that will engage your child. Point out things on the pages naming them and talking about them. Stay on the page until your child is ready to move on.
- Engage in two way commination; talk to them about what is happening and wait for them to respond back.
- Encourage communication. Once your child is old enough to communicate using sign language or words encourage communication. Wait for your child to ask, gesture, or sign for a toy, drink or food, instead of automatically getting it for them. Do not anticipate your child’s need or desires before they have a chance to make them known to you. If your child gets what they want without communicating for it, they won’t bother to point, gesture or ask.
- Wait, wait, wait! Delay your responses to your child’s pointing, gestures or babbling when he wants things. Pretend you don’t understand what he wants to see if your child will try to verbally communicate. Pausing allows your child another chance to verbally express himself.
- Sing songs; Song promotes vocal play, attention, listening, and speech. Sing simple songs your child can sing with you. (Ex. The Itsy Bitsy Spider; Twinkle, Twinkle, Wheels on the Bus and Row, Row Your Boat).
- Build on what your child says. If he says “ball,” you can say, “That’s your big, red ball.”
We want you to remember to be patient when working with your child on language development. Shower your child with praise and love for a little or a lot of language. And remember to have fun and enjoy your child’s milestones in all areas of development.