There are several reasons why infants and toddlers, as young as three months old, might benefit from speech therapy.
Language development begins in early life, even before a kid speaks their first words. Crying, babbling, pointing, and gesturing are all examples of early language acquisition, and they represent a child’s initial attempts to convey his or her ideas, feelings, and wishes.
Children who are nonverbal must nevertheless be able to communicate successfully. This is vital not just as kids begin to comprehend their surroundings but also lays the groundwork for speech production, connection building, social awareness, and literacy abilities such as reading and writing.
Beyond Speaking, How May Speech Therapy Help A Toddler’s Communication?
Speech therapy for toddlers is significantly more comprehensive, incorporating language comprehension, social skills, and all areas of oral and written communication.
Beyond speaking, speech therapy may help newborns and young children improve a variety of communication abilities. These are some examples:
Communication without using words Infants and toddlers can benefit from speech therapy for the most fundamental types of communication. This might involve using gestures, facial expressions, and basic noises to convey their needs and desires before they can use words or entire phrases. Young children who fail to convey their views may be more prone to behavioral problems. Speech therapy may help young children grow and thrive as communicators by establishing a firm foundation of language.
Social Abilities: The use of language by children during social interactions is referred to as social communication (also known as pragmatics). Children are only starting to build bonds and emotional connections at this age. Unfortunately, social skills do not come naturally to all children, which can make it difficult when they start school and begin mingling with their classmates.
Cognitive Advancement: Even before a kid is born, until approximately the age of five, his or her brain is quickly growing. Working memory, reasoning and problem-solving skills, self-awareness, executive functioning, understanding, motivation, and other factors all influence a child’s cognitive ability. Strong communication and language skills are essential for increasing cognitive function and producing healthy, autonomous children.
How Can I Tell Whether My Kid Requires Speech Therapy?
Now that we’ve established that speech therapy’s reach extends well beyond speaking, let’s look at signals that your young kid could benefit from intervention. It’s vital to remember that every child is unique and has a growth timeline. Just because your child isn’t exhibiting certain habits doesn’t imply they won’t catch up later. If you find your kid isn’t meeting age-appropriate milestones, consult with your doctor or get an examination from a qualified speech therapist.
0-12 Month Checkpoints
- Failing To Smile Or Notice Others: Around the 3-month stage in a child’s life, children begin to observe individuals around them. When you speak to your child, they should start smiling or reacting.
- Making Baby Sounds: After a few months of life, the lovely newborn giggles begin. Toddlers begin exploring their vocal cords and creating a range of various sounds at this age. Even if they are incapable of forming readable speech, they should make sounds regularly throughout the day.
12-18 Month Checkpoints
- First Words: It is normal for newborns to speak their first words around this age. These words frequently begin simply, such as “mama” or “baba.”
12-24 Month Checkpoints
- Short Phrases: Putting basic words together to form intelligible sentences is a significant communication achievement. At this age, don’t anticipate complete phrases. Your child, on the other hand, should be able to offer a clearer indication of their requirements. For example, if they are still hungry, they should say “I want” while pointing to the juice, or “more milk.”
- Pronouncing Sounds And Words: Some common sounds, such as /ch/ or /l/, are more difficult for toddlers to learn. However, by the age of three, children should be able to create several sounds coherently and be understandable to both familiar and new listeners at least 75% of the time. Furthermore, a child’s speech should be understandable by persons with whom they often engage, such as family members or close friends.
- Playing With Others: At this age, children begin to play and mingle with other children their age. This is when their social abilities take off, and we start to observe the development of other important early language skills, such as turn-taking and following directions. While some youngsters are naturally timid, this is sometimes misinterpreted as a child’s inability to understand others or make themselves known.