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An infant with a big smile on his face is sitting on the floor and stares at the object in front of him. Mom is looking at her daughter and she's smiling.

You are probably wondering when is your child going to start to talk? How quick will it happen and will it be model development - by the book? Or maybe you started to worry hearing one of your colleagues say: "So big and still doesn't talk!" Do not pay attention to opinions of the others! Read my advice and only then analyse if you really need to worry.

Stages of speech development:

After the first month: cooing

- sounds: "grr", "hrr"

- first unconscious, after a few weeks a baby starts to do it consciously.

- each child goes through this phase (even children with impaired hearing)

A cause for alarm

Contact a doctor when a baby starts to coo and suddenly ceases it for a long time (several weeks). He will order a hearing test, just in case. Before a visit to a doctor, you can test the hearing yourself by, e.g. knocking loud on the side or dropping something to the floor. A baby should react to that.

4- 9 months: babbling

- first guttural sounds, strings of vowels: "aaaa", "eeee", "oooo", "errrh"

- repeating heard sounds, single syllables: "ma", "ta", "ba", "da"

- strings of syllables: "ta-ta-ta", "ma-ma-ma", "ba-ba-ba", "da-da-da".

It is the time of learning the correct alignment of lips and the tongue, sounds of individual phones, of imitating the intonation. The baby does not understand what he "says", and for this reason this is not speech yet.

After 6th month: the baby starts to react to his name.

10 - 18 months:

- matching sounds to persons, e.g., "where is granny?" The baby looks at a correct person, i.e., understands what is being said. This is already a type of speech, understanding is passive speech.

- matching sounds to activities, e.g., "wave bye-bye". The baby waves his hand, and this is also a type of speech (passive speech).

- first "words", for example "wow, wow". Repeating is active speech.

- 11 - 14 months: first words appear.

- A 12 months old tot can say some 2-3 words, for example: "mama", "dada", "nana", "give", "bye", "buh"

- words specific only to your child start to appear. Those words are created by simplifying words that your child is yet not able to pronounce correctly.

When the baby starts to walk on his own, he may put taking to the back burner for the moment. This is, however, a transient stage.

18 - 24 months:

- first short sentences, e.g., "nana give"

- using his name when referring to himself

- overusing the word 'no" (rebellion period)

Each child develops speech at his own pace.

Not each child develops "by the book", but it does not mean something is wrong. I asked a specialist and was told that in a healthy child each stage may be shifted by even half a year!

Expressive language delay results from the individual pace and rhythm of the child's development. It will disappear with maturing of the nervous system.

What are the symptoms?

- initial lack of speech occurs up to 1.5 - 2 years of age

- delay in speech development is annihilated around 4 - 5 year

- this annihilation does not require specialist help.

Those symptoms are of no consequence to further development of the child.

Delay in speech development occurs:

-in children of parents who also were late talkers (25 - 30%),

- in infants undergoing rehabilitation who make progress in motor development,

- mainly in boys. It occurs even twice or thrice as often as in girls.

- in infants, whose parents do not talk to them enough (lack or incorrect language pattern) or, contrary, talk too much (overstimulation).

Expressive language delay (i.e. development at one's individual pace) is characterised by disruption in language expression while understanding it correctly (correct passive speech).Thus, if you see your child reacts to what you say, you can exclude pathological delay.

However, by monitoring and observing the speech development in your child, you can support your child and react when you are worried. Consult a doctor, as problems with speech may be related to, e.g., impaired hearing, incorrect structure of speech organs, damaged peripheral nerves, mental disability, mental disorders.

Visit to a speech therapist

I will surprise you! You can visit this specialist already with an infant, if it is necessary. A speech therapist should work with the baby, when:

- he has hearing problems

- he breathes through his mouth (and does not have a cold)

-movement of his tongue is restricted (it may be caused by a short frenulum and then surgical intervention is necessary)

- he puts his tongue between teeth.

Interesting fact:

A baby starts to learn the language already during the foetal life. From the 3rd month on the baby in its mum's belly hears the sounds from the outside. At that time speech organs and the brain develop. You can then start to talk tenderly to your baby; he will remember the tone and melody of your voice.

Do you want to know how to develop the speech of your baby? Read our advice "Teaching talking from the birth": http://canpolbabies.com/pl/porady/porada/mothers/19/317

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