Every child learns, grows and develops at their individual pace. Yet there are certain age-appropriate milestones that guide our assessments of whether the child’s speech and language development is on track, or if he or she may need some extra help.
So, what are the milestones that parents and carers should look out for when it comes to speech and language?
From the first smile to the first steps, learning how to communicate and acquire speech and language skills is a very personal journey for every child. However, while the scope for development is wide, there are certain milestones and red flags to be aware of which can help you decide if your child is on the right track.
As babies, our brains form over a million neural connections very early on. After this initial phase, these connections are reduced so the brain can become more efficient. This process is called pruning. Neural connections that babies and children aren’t using are pruned, and the connections which are being used are strengthened.
A child who was late to make sounds, talk and use language may not be using, and in turn, strengthening the neural connections in the language areas of the brain.
Talking to and engaging with your baby right from birth encourages and supports them to use and strengthen these connections, ensuring a stronger foundation for language development and learning.
Being quick to act and give extra support to a young child who may be struggling to communicate helps ensure the neural connections in the language areas of the brain are used and strengthened. The early years are the optimal time for brain development, and a child with a stronger foundation for language development will more readily use language to form strong social connections with others and the world around them.
As a parent, no one else knows your child better than you do. That feeling or intuition something isn’t quite right can be there because you know your child so well. Always trust your intuition, it’s a powerful thing.
If you think your child may be experiencing speech and language difficulties, Telethon Speech & Hearing can help guide you to make the right decision for your child.
Call 9387 9888 or request an appointment online with one of our specialists today.