Language Development in Children
Today I’d like to talk about a subject I have extensive experience with: language development in children. My first son didn’t speak until after he was three years old. He started to use words at a young age, but then regressed and was totally silent except for screaming and a few other noises in place of words. This set off several alarms and we brought him to the doctor many times. We thought that he might have autism or possible developmental issues. We consulted the doctor about our son’s issues, as well as doing our own research. The doctors tested him and told us we had nothing to worry about. A few relatives thought that they were child development experts and repeatedly tried to give us bogus advice. Fast forward to today and he is five and speaks perfectly normal with only slight speech problems which are dissipating rapidly. I have since come to find out that I spoke at a late age as well. This article is not here to tell you not to worry. You should always consult your pediatrician about language development in children if you have concerns. According to most experts, children should be able to say one word at 12 months, two word combinations between 18-24 months, and three word sentences before turning three. Our son before three only said a handful of words. After his third birthday, he rapidly began talking. Below are a few things that we thought might be hindering our son’s speech.
Our son started to speak, then stopped. Regressing is one of the signs of autism. He was and still is rather shy, so we thought he might have social issues as well. Autism is a common suspect in delayed language development in children. There were a few other signs as mentioned above. We had him tested and the pediatrician did not believe this was the issue. Our son is a little quirky to this day, but does not have autism. We continued our research into language development in children. Here is a good page with resources and information on autism in children http://pediatrics.about.com/od/autism/Autism_and_Children.htm
Chronic Ear Infections/Hearing Problems
As a child I had bad ear infections frequently. We thought that hearing issues might be the problem with his speech. Hearing problems are not uncommon with delayed language development in children. The pediatrician also tested this as the possible source, but his hearing was fine.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a neurological impairment that effects language development in children in which abnormal reflexes or tone are absent. Basically this means that the brain has trouble processing sounds and speech properly. We briefly considered Childhood Apraxia of Speech, but our son started speaking soon after we found out about this. Our relative constantly tried to press us to get him checked for this, even after he was talking. You can find more information on Childhood Apraxia of Speech and language development in children at http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/childhoodapraxia.htm
Some children just develop speech later than others, and this was the case with our son. This was also the case with me when I was a toddler. Sometimes children are more focused on other developments and speech takes a back seat. The best time to seek help is when they are about 2 1/2. Do not hesitate to seek professional help at any time if you are concerned. Don’t let people that don’t interact with your child on a daily basis stress you out about it. Language development in children is a common concern of parents. If your child does develop speech late, it doesn’t mean anything except that they developed speech late. Our son has completely caught up and speaks in complex sentences and conveys elaborate ideas. There is a small amount of pronunciation issues, but like I stated above they are getting better quickly. Even though our son did not talk before three, he will sometimes bring up things that he remembers from that stage in his life to this day. Some experts also say that if you take care of all your child’s needs they sometimes don’t feel the need to express themselves through speech. I hope that this article has put your mind at ease if you are looking into language development in children for your little one.