Improving Speech in Children with Developmental Delays
Children with developmental delays related to processing disorders and learning disorders like verbal dyspraxia often need help matching the speech development of their peers. Learning about common speech issues in children with development delays can help you determine which one affects your child. Speech issues and delays can be improved with at-home solutions or with the help of a qualified professional.
Recognizing Signs of Speech Delay
Speech development follows a fairly predictable path for most children. They cry at birth, start to babble randomly between 3 and 4 months and try to imitate speech between 6 and 11 months.
If your child doesn't develop according to this timeline, he or she may have speech and developmental delay that requires attention:
12 months - recognizes his or her own name, understands basic instructions and uses one or two words
18 months - uses between five and 20 words
1 to 2 years - growing vocabulary, uses two-word sentences, imitates sounds that animals make and understands what "no" means
2 to 3 years - has a vocabulary of about 450 words, calls himself or herself "me" instead of by name, enjoys hearing stories, uses short sentences with some plural words
3 to 4 years - Uses sentences with four or five words, vocabulary expands to 1,000, can repeat several nursery rhymes
4 to 5 years - Uses past tense, has vocabulary of 1,500 words, starts asking questions
5 to 6 years - 6,000-word vocabulary, can describe objects and locations, uses sentences with five to six words
If your child does not develop along this timeline, he or she may have a related physical or developmental issue such as articulation disorder, fluency disorder, or resonance disorder. These are just some of the most common problems that can be addressed by speech therapy.
Support for Children with Developmental Delays
Many speech therapy strategies can be practiced at home. If you do not get quick results from home treatments, a professional can help your child catch up with his or her peers.
Language intervention activities can strengthen a child's understanding of language while giving him or her a chance to practice skills. You can use many of these intervention activities while playing with children. Describing each step of a process, for instance, shows the child how people use language to explain actions in an orderly way. Parents can incorporate this into practically any activity, such as cooking, cleaning or changing diapers.
Parents can also use books, pictures and other objects to elicit responses from children. If the child does not respond correctly, carefully sound out the name of the object and explain its use in very simple terms.
Articulation activities encourage children to say words correctly. Identify areas in which the child needs help and focus on them. Depending on the child's age and development, you may ask him or her to tell you a story about the day. When the child mispronounces words or stutters, encourage him or her to slow down and sound out each word carefully. Praise or reward the child for doing well to prevent frustration.
Highly personalized programs are typically used in a professional environment to help children develop their communication skills. If your child shows signs of a developmental challenge, visiting a professional as soon as possible could help him or her catch up with peers and improve speaking abilities.
If your child struggles with speech as a result of a Processing Disorder or Learning Disorder, contact us online or find a center near you to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help.