Self Help for Children
Speech and language development begins at birth; however, children develop speech, sounds and language at different rates. They should be able to say all speech sounds correctly by age 8. Guidelines for speech and language development follow:
- Uses few sounds
- Communicates by crying
- Uses different cries for different needs
- Turns, looks, smiles at familiar voices and sounds
- Begins to coo using vowel-like sounds
- Makes different experimental sounds
- Starts to understand word meaning
- Learns language of daily routines
- Babbles using consonant and vowel combinations
- Begins to imitate sounds
- Begins to use meaningful words
- Pronounces some words correctly
- Uses most vowels and some consonants consistently
- Says first words and meaningful sound combinations
- Follows a variety of basic directions
- Recognizes common objects and their uses
- Produces about 270 words by 24 months
1 ½ -2 Years
- Produces rapid speech sound development
- Simplifies difficult words
- Uses more words
- Combines words to expand meaning
- Produces sentences of three to four words by age 3
- Produces 300-500 words by age 3
- Follows two to three directions
- Produces 600-1600 words
- Talks about experiences and recent events
- Talks in longer, more complex sentences
- Speaks in understandable language 80-100% of the time
- Produces more complex speech sounds
Top Speech Development Strategies
- Be a good model for your child; don't use baby talk.
- Pronounce words clearly and slowly for your child to hear and imitate.
- Look at your child when you are talking.
- Repeat new words and sounds; use them in conversation.
- Praise your child when the sounds he or she makes are correct.
- Between the ages of 2 and 6 almost all children repeat sounds, syllables and words that may sound like stuttering.
- This may last a few weeks or several months, but will eventually disappear.
- Don't call attention to your child by facial expressions or verbal comments.
- Don't tell your child to slow down.
- Make sure your child is getting rest, a healthy diet and exercise.
- Reduce tensions at home.
- Give your child plenty of time to talk without interruption.
- Don't be impatient or embarrassed by your child's speech.
- Discipline calmly.
A child may have a voice disorder resulting from vocal abuse. Please ask your doctor for a referral to speech therapy if you are concerned about any of the speech/language voice or swallowing problems described. Patients are evaluated by a certified speech/language pathologist with an advanced degree, who performs evaluations, counsels you about the results and provides appropriate therapy as ordered by your physician.