Normally, by the end of your child’s second year, his vocabulary should comprise about 50 words. Aside from that, he should be able to speak two- to three-word sentences with little trouble. At three years of age, his vocabulary should reach the 200-word mark, and his sentence composition should meet a maximum of four words.
If your youngsters fail to reach these milestones, they could possibly have delayed speech. This is because these milestones help assess whether or not your child is progressing steadily in their speech and communication. Still, it’s worth it to consider that these markers are just guidelines, and your child could simply be developing at his own pace.
Like any parent whose child is seemingly falling behind his peers developmentally, it’s normal to be worried. So, today, we’ll be helping you determine whether your child’s lack of speech is just part of his normal development process or if there’s a deeper issue you need to look into.
Speech Delay vs. Language Delay
Speech is defined as the act of forming words and producing sounds. A child with delayed speech may put in the effort to speak but have difficulty coming up with the right sounds to create words. He also doesn’t necessarily need to experience the nonverbal communication or comprehension issues indicative of the slightly-different language delay.
Language delay, on the other hand, impacts understanding and communication in both the verbal and non-verbal sense. If your toddler has a language delay, then he’ll probably be able to produce the correct sounds to form words, but he won’t be able to utter comprehensible sentences.
A child can experience either delayed speech or language, but there are some instances when these two conditions occur simultaneously. If you’re unsure about what your child has, don’t fret. In almost all cases, a distinction doesn’t necessarily need to be made for an assessment or treatment to start.
Speech Delays in Toddlers
Infants progressing normally in the speech department will be cooing and babbling incessantly. They will continue on like that for a few months until they finally manage to utter their first words, which will likely be “mama” or “dada.”
A toddler with a speech delay has not reached the speech milestones typical of a child his age. Still, again, this could simply mean that he is working on his own timeline and is not necessarily going through a serious problem.
So, what should you expect from a three-year-old child? Ideally, your three-year-old toddler should:
- Have a vocabulary with around 200 words
- Be able to speak their names and call other people by their names
- Be able to use simple nouns, verbs, and adjectives in their sentences
- Be able to ask questions
- Be able to repeat nursery rhymes, sing songs, and tell stories
- Be able to form the plural version of words
Those who spend a lot of time with toddlers tend to have a better understanding of their behavior, including their speech abilities. Plus, going by statistics, it is said that at least five out of 10 three-year-olds can speak intelligibly enough for people outside of the family to understand them.
How Can You Tell If There’s Speech Delay?
The lack of cooing and babbling sounds from a two-month-old baby is a big red flag. Equally worrisome is when a child of 18 months still isn’t able to say the words “dada” and “mama.”
Here are some of the other signs of speech delay you need to be aware of:
- Two-year-olds who don’t have at least 25 words in their vocabulary
- 30-month-olds who still aren’t able to use two-word sentences with unique noun-verb combinations
- Three-year-olds who can’t speak at least 200 words, can’t identify common pictures and objects, and are hard to understand even for family members
- Regardless of age, if your little one is unable to repeat a word he previously learned
Reasons a Child Has Speech Delay
The good thing about a speech delay is that it could simply mean your child is working on his own timetable and is going to be able to catch up to his peers eventually. What’s not-so-good about it is that it could also be rooted in physical and cognitive health issues that are much more difficult to tackle.
Here are some examples of the latter:
- Mouth, tongue, and palate problems
- Speech and language disorders
- Hearing impairments
- Lack of speech engagement
- Neurological disorders
- Intellectual disabilities
If we are talking about autism, then along with speech delay, you will notice mood changes, repetitive behaviors, sleep disorders, learning disabilities, and problems with memory and thinking. Contact the startstemcell.com clinic to find out more about what to do in this case.
Is it normal for children to be late with conversation? While the above information indicates that it is, parents should never be one to take their chances.
It’s true that your youngster could simply be operating on his own timeline. However, it’s also possible that behind his delayed speaking abilities lies more serious health problems that should be addressed promptly.
The moment you notice your little one missing some of the speech milestones he’s already supposed to achieve at his age, schedule an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist right away.