"I'm concerned my child isn’t as verbal as other kids."
When in doubt, speak up and get an evaluation.
Language development milestones are tracked along two parallel paths:
- What your child understands(receptive)
- What your child can communicate (expressive)
Typically, around 6 months old, a child is responsive to your verbal sounds and will try to imitate you. Their language development often starts with cooing sounds, then infants typically begin to babble and add consonant sounds (frequently "b" and "d" sounds...ba-ba-ba or da-da-da). Before age 1, a child often uses simple gestures and can understand simple commands. Early words are nouns used to label or request (mama, dada, etc.) By age 2, a child uses short sentences with a few words; points to things that are named; repeats words; and follows simple instructions. While every child develops at slightly different rates, there are general age-range markers. By knowing the milestones for each age, you can intervene early and talk to your pediatrician about any concerns you may have.
How to help develop your child's language:
- Expose your child to language by talking to them
- The more a child hears, the more they pick it up
- Point out and name objects and explain what you are doing
- Give positive feedback when they are making sounds and practicing
- Read to your child to help them develop receptive and expressive language
When to be concerned:
- Your child is not making any babbling sounds by 6 months
- Your child is not responding to name or sounds
- No words by 18 months to 2 years
- No use of gestures (pointing, nodding, waving goodbye)
- If your child loses skills he or she once had
- If your child only echoes what they hear, or repeats words/phrases in place of normal language
- If your child is no longer making any progress
What to do if you are concerned:
- Contact your pediatrician
- Have your child's hearing tested
- Have your child evaluated by a speech/language pathologist