What is the guide for language development in children? Is there a certain number of words my child should know by a particular age? What are the milestones? What if my child is behind the milestones? Does that mean he/she needs speech therapy?
These important questions can be triggered by a parent’s curiosity. Often a parent asks these questions because they have observed their child in situations with other children of similar age and feel their child might not be developing as they should. Or they are comparing their child to a sibling who developed at a somewhat quicker pace. There may also be a family history of speech/language disorder which makes a parent a little more concerned about differences in development.
It is important to realize that it is typical for children to vary in development and that there is no exact age when a particular speech or language milestone must be met. However, since normal speech and language development typically does follow a developmental progression, guidelines are very helpful for providing benchmarks for normal development as well as characteristics that might indicate a potential speech or language disorder.
Speech is the verbal means of communicating. When a child seems to have good understanding of language and age appropriate sentence length and grammar, but poor intelligibility, it could be due to an articulation disorder, muscle weakness or motor planning deficits. A good site to visit for information and guidelines related to speech challenges is:
Language is made up of socially shared rules that include the following: vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure.Expressive language refers to the actual use of language and receptive language has more to do with the understanding of language. The following sites have good guidelines for language as well as speech.
Parents who are concerned about their child’s speech and language development should follow their instincts. It would be wise to talk with your pediatrician or a pediatric speech-language pathologist about your questions and observations. Contact Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas if you would like to speak with a licensed speech language pathologist free of charge.