As children grow, it is typical for parents to become anxious about whether their children are hitting the right developmental language milestones. Although children grow differently, various developmental milestones are achieved within the same age range for most children. There might be instances whereby, as parents, you become concerned about the development of your child’s language because he/she might be missing some. Then you start asking the questions:
Let us understand what language is and what are the red flags to look out for in our developing children.
What do you mean by “language”?
Language is the means of communicating with the people around us. It can be divided into 2 broad categories.
But my child can speak clearly. Everyone knows exactly what words he is saying.
That is great! This means that there are no issues with his speech, which refers to how clear his words sound. However, a child who is completely intelligible may still have language difficulties. For example, he may say “car” clearly but does not put 2 words together to tell his mother that the car is broken and needs fixing (e.g. “Broken car!” or “Fix car!”). As children grow older, they are expected to put words together to form longer phrases and eventually sentences. This may become a problem if your child is stuck in using only one word by the time he reached the age of 2 years.
How will I know if my child has a language problem?
As a parent, you can play your part by looking out for these red flags relevant for preschool children. Below are some important pointers to look out for in your child’s development. If your child is unable to reach a specific development milestone, it does not mean that he has language disorder. However, the following guide will help you decide whether your child needs professional help.
Speaking to your child’s teachers may also be helpful as they work with many children on a regular basis and are familiar with the skills that are expected for each age level. They will be able to inform you if they suspect some difficulties.
Red flags (Receptive Language)
Red flags (Expressive Language)
I think my child has difficulties with his language! What can I do?
Seek help early to help facilitate his language development. Trained professionals known as speech-language therapists (also known as speech therapists or speech-language pathologists) can tell you more information about the language and communication skills of a child. They will be able to assess and determine if your child does have difficulties with language.
Speech therapists address several aspects of a child’s development, including speech, language, swallowing, voice and fluency. Intervention may consist of direct activities with the child and discussions about how you can provide a more conducive environment for language learning. The support from a parent can go a long way in helping a child’s language development!