6 Things That Can Cause a Child’s Speech Delay

OGBUGOH JOY

Is your baby still fumbling with their speech when other children her age are already talking? Do not worry, every child develops at his or her own pace. While some babies can mumble the word, “dada” before their first birthday, other’s don’t put words together until much later.

When a child has a speech delay, he could use words and phrases not coherent to a listener to express himself. It is called a babble. 

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At 12-18 months of age, a child should be able to recognize names, imitate the words and sounds that they hear, pronounce a few words like “car” “baby” “spoon” and follow simple instructions like, “sit down”  or “come here”.

When the child is between 2- 3 years of age, she should be able to put together more words to make short sentences, identify body parts and be able to point to them, and recite her 1-10 and ABC.

However, sometimes, a child’s speech may not develop as it should or meet the milestones stated above. This can be as a result of any of the following factors:

  1. Problems with the tongue or a cleft lip – this can limit the tongue’s movement, thus making it difficult for the baby to be able to produce a speech.
  2. A disorder in the development of the child’s speech would cause speech delays in the baby.
  3. A  baby that was born prematurely may encounter some developmental issues, one of which could be speech delay.
  4. Some children simply choose not to talk in certain environments for example, school or in the midst of strangers.
  5. The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for language and speech, and once there is some damage to it, it would be hard for the child to coordinate his lips, tongue and jaw to be able to produce speech sounds.
  6. If a child has hearing loss, then his speech would be delayed.

If you notice that your child’s speech is delayed, contact your Doctor as soon as possible so that treatment can begin immediately. However, you don’t have to wait until your child is of talking age, if you notice any of the issues mentioned above, see your doctor so he/she can get tested early for speech problems.

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As a parent, you can help by talking to your child always. Speak to them frequently and always respond to their babbling. Read books to them aloud and explain your actions and things around the house to them. For example, “That is a radio,” “Daddy is eating.” Introduce them to learning toys and nursery rhymes as this can help them learn new words, while sharpening their memory and listening skills.

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