Childhood Speech Delays
Does your baby babble? It’s always a good sign if he or she does.
It is normal and healthy for babies to babble and experiment with vocals even before they recognize words,” says Janelle Hiester, MS, CCC-SLP/L, a speech-language pathologist with Good Shepherd’s Pediatrics Program. “A baby’s lack of ‘babble’ or ‘baby talk’ could be an early sign of a speech delay or disorder.”
To recognize signs of a speech disorder, pay close attention to a child’s speech patterns. Some signs of trouble may include:
- Inconsistencies in the way a child pronounces words. A child may pronounce the same word two different ways from day to day or even in the same sentence.
- Difficulty getting words out. This is especially noticeable when you know what your child is trying to say, such as “milk,” “mommy,” “daddy,” etc.
- Understanding language more than he or she is able to verbalize. Typically, the understanding of language and expression grow together.
- Difficulties with longer words or sentences. A child with a speech disorder may have more difficulty with sentences than single words.
Problems with speaking can be frustrating for a child, as it would be for anyone. That’s why it is important to recognize the signs of a disorder and begin treatment early.
“Speech therapists at Good Shepherd know that no two children are alike, so they take an individualized approach to improvement,” says Hiester. “Treatment is child-centered and differs for each child based on his or her learning preferences and the parents’ wants or needs.”