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Parents play a huge role in the development of their kids, including their speech. The age when children begin to talk varies, but they usually start to form words from one to one-and-a-half years old. As they reach two, parents understand 50% of what they say and progress to 75% when they become three. Parents and other people will understand them properly when they reach the age of four.
However, some kids experience a delay in their speech development. There are various reasons for this, including oral impairment or problems with the palate or tongue. Another reason is hearing problems. If they are hard of hearing or hearing impaired, they will also experience speech delay. Neurological issues and autism spectrum disorder may also cause it. If you do not talk to your child to develop their speech, they may also experience a delay. If there is no verbal stimulation, it will be hard for the child to learn and develop this skill.
Your paediatrician can diagnose if your child has a speech development problem. Some things to expect during the diagnosis are checking your child’s tongue, palate, and mouth. They will also perform hearing tests. Based on the result, they may refer you to another specialist. For example, if the reason for the speech delay is a hearing impairment, they will refer you to an ear specialist. A paediatric speech and language therapist will help with speech development. The therapist will work closely with your child and give you details on how to help with the process.
As a parent, there are things that you can do to help with your child’s speech development. Here are some of them.
Talk to your child
As mentioned, one of the reasons for speech delay is lack of stimulation. If you don’t talk to your child often, they will not learn. So, take time to talk to your child. Be sure to get their attention first by calling their name. With this, you will know that they are listening, and will hear what you say.
Have a conversation
If your child is at an age where they could respond, involve them in a conversation instead of asking questions. Talk about anything that may happen that day or things they might be interested in, like their favourite toy. Give them time to think and respond.
Use simple sentences
Keep your sentences short and precise. Do not use complex language at this stage, making it easier for your child to keep up with you and comprehend.
Even if your child is still young, read stories anyway. Find topics that will interest them so that they will be all ears.
Repeat your sentences
You may need to repeat the words that you say to your child for better understanding. Be patient, and articulate properly, as they imitate what you say.
Children have different developmental capacities, and some start to talk earlier than others. However, if you suspect that your child has a speech delay, consult your paediatrician right away for proper diagnosis. Early detection is better for adequate treatment.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post