Are you struggling to understand your child and concerned that his or her language is not developing at the pace it should be? Wondering at what age they should be able to pronounce certain sounds? You sent your questions and our expert, Natalie Corbett Sampson, Speech Language Pathologist at the Family Development Centre, responded in this month's Ask The Expert post.
Our daughter was an early talker and caught on quickly. By the time she was two she was stringing full sentences together and astonishing other parents at the playgrounds. I didn't think much of it, to be honest, until our little guy didn't follow the same pattern. I noticed quite early (before he was a year) that his vocalizations were not the same as hers and asked our paediatrician about it. She referred us to Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres.
There was a bit of a wait but finally we had his hearing test and he passed with flying colours. So what next? A nine month wait for a language development assessment was what was next. We finally got in when he was about 18 months. It was easy enough - he played and she observed and interacted with him, and asked me questions. At his age they have to rely a lot on the parents' input. She explained that some of the consistent sounds he makes (such as "ba" for ball or "buh" for bird) actually count as words, even if they're not distinguishable to anyone but us.
In the end she said he was at about a 12 month level for speech development - so a bit of a delay but not a major concern. She referred us to a parent workshop for follow-up, along with some exercises we can do at home.
We've been working with him and seeing some progress but still quite a ways to go. On the flip side, he's very advanced physically with climbing and running so our hope is that he's been focused on that and will soon turn his attention on making a communication a priority because I'm dying to hear an "I love you" - in words - from him. :-)
I wrote an article in the HRM Communities papers last week about what parents can do at home if they suspect a speech delay - click on the image below for the full article (spoiler alert: you don't need to wait for a doctor's referral in Nova Scotia - a parent can refer a child themselves!!).
Hearing your child’s first words is one of the most exciting moments in a parent’s life; but when your child’s first words don’t come when you expect them to, you may become concerned.
To have a child assessed or treated for a language delay there are two options: The Nova Scotia Health Care System provides free services for children with a public health care card; and the private health care system provides services for a fee, which may be covered under a medical insurance plan. A referral to have a child assessed can be made by a doctor, or directly by a parent, for both systems.
Click here for the rest of the article.