Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is Your Child's Speech Development Normal?

As a parent I worry.  I stress about runny noses and small coughs.  I hover over scrapes and bruises.  I contemplate whether my son's have good friends.  I mull over processed foods and foreign chemicals in our dinner.  I lose sleep at night crunching numbers and comparing my bank account to the cost of college tuition.  Needless to say, as a mother, I am always fretting over something.

One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome was the fear my children suffered from speech delays.  I looked up resources on speech development and normal ranges for a child's word development.  I listened to every coo and babble, yearning to hear "real" words when my son's were smaller.  As a former educator, we were constantly being told about the importance of development during the early childhood years.  Even frequent ear infections as a baby or toddler can hinder later speech development. 

I probably over reacted with my own children, although my youngest was a very late talker and sometimes struggles with his pronouns.  In his defense, it is hard to get a word in when you have two very opinionated older brothers.  I kept an eye on all of their development, but on occasion I did lose sleep over the matter. 

As a daycare provider, I have witnessed children who require special speech services.  Sometimes a problem can be caused by large tonsils or how they move their tongue when forming words.  Hearing problems can also cause slow speech development.   A parent who feels that their child may suffer from a speech delay or hearing issue can get help and the earlier the better. 

Did you know that most states offer FREE screenings and services for ALL children, even if they are not school age?

If you think your child may need to be evaluated, call your local school district and ask about screenings and what is available to your family. I can't stress the importance of early intervention and the impact it will have on future education.

Remember- all children develop differently and some basic sounds children will not be able to make until they are 7 or 8!  If you do have concerns, please look into it.  I have included some links that offer a basic list of "normal" speech guidelines. 

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association-  How does your child hear and talk?  Typical Speech and Language Acquisition in Infants and Young Children

LD Online-  Speech and Language Milestones

If you feel your child's speech may be lacking-  RELAX.  You can get help and a lot of these professionals are wonderful.  I have dealt with several amazing speech therapists and audiologists that work small miracles.

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