Speech Delay in Toddlers

    Speech Delay in Toddlers

    Work with speech delay in toddlers must be in a strict sequence, and it must not be broken. Why speech is being formed with a delay? It is due to… Delay of speech development is due to declined motivation to communicate.

    Why toddlers have speech delay? How is it formed?

    Work with speech delay in toddlers must be in a strict sequence, and it must not be broken. Move to the next stage only after the previous material has been mastered.

    No any book will replace a consultation and work with a specialist. A diagnosis is not a sentence; a diagnosis is a successful start on the way of language skills development.

    Dictionary for help

    Early correction is a system of educational activities to normalize the mental and physical development of a child and is performed within the early childhood (up to 3 years old).

    However, this does not mean that it is worth giving up if a speech underdevelopment was detected in 6 or 7 years old.

    In any case, special exercises will have a positive effect on speech and personality of a child, if they are systematic and directional. Here is the first stage in the formation of speech in bubbling toddlers.

    Bubbling words are the words that consist of one or three same syllables, such as baba, mama (hold me), lala (doll), etc. The use of such words is typical for babies up to the first year of life.

    Onomatopoeia is the words based on imitation of the natural sound, for example: meow (a cat), squeak-squeak (a mouse), broom-broom (a car), etc. These imitating sounds are typical for children within early stages of speech formation (about 1.5-2 years old).

    Vocalization is a prolonged pronunciation of vowel sounds or a sound with a different intonation. If a child develops normally, vocalization is used only in infancy (up to 1 year old).

    These children are characterized as: “He/she understands everything but does not talk”.

    Motivation is a motivational factor, the reason for any deed, action.

    Imitation is the ability to reproduce speech.

    Which categories of children are these methods for?

    Young children from birth to three years old.

    When children after 3 years old have an obvious speech underdevelopment, and don’t talk clear words, it means that they use a limited set of communication tools: bubbling words, onomatopoeia, vocalization, facial expressions, gestures. Some of such children quite actively come into contact; others are closed, shy, try to avoid communication; others show a pronounced speech and behavioral negativity with elements of aggressive behavior, i.e. they refuse verbal and nonverbal communication by demonstration of their opposition to the situation, and protesting sometimes even using their fists.

    The given methods of speech formation should not be used to correct speech of children with hearing disorders and cerebral palsy. These methods must be adapted and modified appropriately to abilities of such children.

    How speech is being formed

    As it is known, timely and proper mastering speech by a child is an important condition for his development. Speech formation process includes several stages. Infancy and early preschool ages (0.8 – 1 year old and 3-4 years old) are especially productive and important for language development. During this short period of time a child is mastering the basic patterns of his language.

    By 3-4 years old his vocabulary consists of about 800-1000 words, and a child does not almost use onomatopoeia and easy versions of words. He knows how to build basic kinds of sentences following the grammar. A four-year old can recite the contents of a simple fairy-tale, tell about his actions, and analyze everyday situations.

    Below there are the sequence of appearance of certain phenomena in a child’s speech and the age of their appearance. This time can vary, as well as terms and, to some extent, the sequence of speech development forms according to the individual child’s particular qualities and his gender. These terms can be stretched enough, due to the individual characteristics of a child. However, if these forms do not appear in a certain period, or you see them appearing rarely, it should alert you.

    1-2 months. Intoning cries. You can distinguish the cries of pleasure and pain.

    1.5-3 months. Agooing Baby repeats after you or pronounces separate syllables on his own, as if playing with them.

    4-5 months. Babbling. Baby repeats after you and utters something similar to the words that consist of identical syllables.

    8 months – 1.2 year. Bubbling words. Baby uses parentese language in his speech: the words are made up of two or three open syllables (lala, baba (bottle), da-daddy (granddaddy), much onomatopoeia (broom-broom, woof-woof).

    1.6 years – 2.2 years. Two-word sentences. Baby, when communicating with you, brings two words together, for example: si dow (sit down), dada no (dad is not at home), and so on.

    1.9 years – 2.6 years. The active vocabulary growth. Toddler asks “What is it?”

    2.4 years – 3.6 years. Grammatical word forms appear. Toddler changes words in his speech according to number, gender, cases, etc.

    Word building. Toddler “creates” his own words, but uses the laws of his mother tongue. Toddler actively communicates with familiar adults.

    Why speech is being formed with a delay?

    A newborn does not have innate knowledge of laws of the language he will speak. He has ability in a certain period of his development to learn the norms and rules of the language spoken by people around him. For a child it is not just simple repetition of the speech patterns he hears from adults, but creativity – speech is being developed as a means of communication and learning.

    There are often inappropriate methods of upbringing in a family or a child caring institution, when adults pay insufficient attention to a child or, conversely, are too overprotective of him. In these both cases motivation to communicate is not being formed in a child. In the first case, there is nobody to ask for something, in the second one there is no need – everything will be done in time all the same. Often the unfavorable underdevelopment is expressed in personal characteristics of a child prone to stubbornness, self-will, hysterical reactions.

    Delay of speech development is due to declined motivation to communicate. But if to start working at it in time and if to change parenting methods, there is tend toward rapid and full correction.

    The reason for delay in speech development may be underdevelopment or insufficiency of the sensorimotor areas or neurological diseases as well. This underdevelopment requires not only changes in parenting approach, but also a professional assistance. Correction takes more time and requires more effort and attention.

    Wait to worry!

    Maybe your child is just an exception to the rule that confirms this rule.

    Signs of successful language development in children

    • Physical development of your child corresponds to his age.
    • The child has no any neurological diseases.
    • The child actively communicates with friends and his family, but is shy to talk to strangers.
    • The child willingly repeats after you everything he hears.
    • The child actively solves his problems using speech.
    • The child listens to his speech and tries to correct his mistakes by himself.

    Signs of unfavorable language development

    • The child’s physical development is delayed.
    • The child has suffered a severe illness.
    • The child has neurological diseases.
    • The child is reluctant to repeat words and sentences after you.
    • When hearing the request “Repeat” or “Say it again,” the child is silent, clenches his teeth, or leaves as if he didn’t hear you.
    • He prefers to solve his own problems by himself not asking you for help (“independent” child).
    • The child equally actively communicates as with friends so and strangers.

    NOTE. Many psychologists tend to believe that this behavior is a sign of unfavorable development. But this phenomenon is very individual, for a child, when growing in a happy family, can be just self-reliant, communicative, and all-sufficient.

    • the child doesn’t care whether he is understood by someone. He speaks the language that is clear only to him. He does not respond to the comment “Say it again better”.
    • The child’s language is far behind his peers’ one.

    If you’ve found at least one sign of unfavorable child’s language development, then your child needs help!

    Parents often describe a situation where the child says a word once, as if “tasting” it, and does not repeat it again for months. Sometimes it comes almost to a fight. Parents first ask the child to repeat the word, then beg, then demand, and punish him after all – put him in a corner. But this leads only to one thing: eventually all the tasks, that require verbal responses from a child, are ignored or actively rejected. He is silent or turns away in response to any question, such as “What is your name?”, “How old are you?”, “What a toy is there in your hand?” etc. He grunts and points with a finger if asking for something, but more often he tries to satisfy his needs by himself. Such an “independence” of the child, when he gets the needed thing from a cabinet, switches on a TV set, etc. on his own, makes his parents feel happy, although it is more often an evidence of unformed verbal communication skills and the presence of a persistent reluctance to speak.

    If you want to help your child forget about the words “say” and “repeat” at least for a while.

    Correction must be started as soon as possible

    It must be emphasized that hereinafter we will tell about the children with good motor functions, normal hearing, but who has speech delay. It should be noted that language acquisition management is more effective in the early period, within the first year of life when the first bubbling is to appear. In this case, it is possible to “match up” with the natural terms of speech rudiments formation and to avoid the consequences. The sooner you pay attention to the level of your child’s speech development, the sooner you will help him, the more effective it will be.

    How to help your child?

    Correctional work requires a lot of knowledge and certain skills. So be careful, follow all our written instructions in strict sequence. If something does not work right away, consult a specialist. Do not rush to jump from stage to stage. All stages are strictly necessary in the presented order. It is difficult to determine how long it will take to practice each stage. The duration of daily activities and the total duration of the work are determined individually according to the abilities of children.

    The main tasks of correctional work with a child, who has rudiments of bubbling speech, are:

    – development of the motivational bases of speech activity;
    – formation of imitation skills.

    As we have said, the child’s normal speech is being formed in the process of communication with native speakers through imitation. Thus there is a gradual adjustment of the child’s language to the adults’ one on the basis of unconscious linguistic analysis, synthesis and the ability to linguistic generalizations.

    Thus, in the course of correctional work, it is first necessary to ensure that the child has a need to communicate.

    Read what to do with speech delay in toddlers in our next article. We cover there strict sequence of activities that encourage normal language development in toddlers.


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