Children acquire communication skills in patterns across certain age ranges. While there are many sources available online that recommend specific developmental milestones, every child develops language at a different rate. It’s normal for parents to worry about when their child will say their first words, but it’s important to remember that language development is about how children use their words, rather than how many they are using.
When parents express concerns they often focus their worry on whether or not their child is saying “enough” words. Communication should be a top priority for parents, but talking is only a portion of this. Specifically looking at children under two years old, we want to emphasize the importance of the function of their language. Being able to list colors and count to ten is great, but what we want to assess is whether or not there are signs of further communication being attempted (ie: responding to interactions with others and understanding the meaning behind words). A child must progress through specific communication milestones before they are able to fully use speech to conversate, and we want to remind parents that this takes time.
Taking all of this into consideration, we also want to remind parents that if you are suspecting something may be off with your child’s language development to assess the situation before it’s too late. You can never be too safe when it comes to making sure language is developing correctly.
Below are a few expressive language milestones developed by Laura Mize SLP, to look out for when determining some initial speech disorder milestones. For more milestones and further information, please visit this link: https://teachmetotalk.com/expressive-language-milestones/ Some of the Milestons Ms. Mize points out are:
1. Difficulty making and maintaining eye contact with an adult by 6 months
2. No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions during interaction with another person by 6 months
3. No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by 9 months.
4. No babbling by 12 months
Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have, we are always here to help.