Language - Speech Therapy

Symptoms that alert that your child is a late speaker


Crying is the child's first form of expression. Then will come the babbling and the first words. In this language development many factors influence the family, the environment in which it develops and schooling), which makes each child develop his language in his own time, but when should parents be concerned? What is normal and what is not normal? which are the symptoms that alert that a child is a late speaker?

A late speaker is a child under 30 months who has a lower expressive vocabulary for his age. They are children with good understanding, appropriate play, and consistent development in motor, sensory, cognitive, and social skills. Studies show that 10-15% of children acquire words more slowly, compared to their peers.

A child is considered to speak late if he has an expressive vocabulary of less than 20 words at 18 months or if he has a vocabulary of less than 50 words at 24 months and has not yet combined two words, such as 'mama agua'.

Many late speakers catch up with their peers of the same age when they start schoolHowever, 20-30% may continue to have difficulties in the future, needing help to develop their language. And, for example, according to the psychologist María Peñafiel in her report 'Early indicators of language disorders', this circumstance can have negative consequences on children's reading and learning in 40 or 70% of cases.

There are circumstances that place a child in greater risk of having a language delay continuous. What are those situations?

1. Little use of gestures to communicate
In general, children who do not speak or speak little tend to compensate for expressive difficulties with gestures. If this does not happen, it is important to be attentive, since it can be a predisposing factor to continuous difficulties and, even, of another type.

2. Limited use of sounds of language
They present a very reduced repertoire of consonant phonemes, where vowels and primitive consonants (m, n, t, p) predominate. They also take time to incorporate new phonemes.

3. Presence of family history
In the family there are cases of people who spoke late, presented or presented difficulties in language, communication or learning.

4. History of upper airway infections
Children who present or present recurrent upper respiratory infections such as seromucosal otitis, tubal dysfunction or mouth breathing.

It is very difficult to predict which late talkers will catch up and which will fall into the 20-30% group who don't, This is why the behavior of waiting and seeing what happens, or the frequently heard phrases like 'He's going to talk or' Every child has his times', all they do is delay the start of a treatment that can make a difference in the case of a child who really needs it.

Early intervention is always essential, as it increases the chances of a better evolution in language, minimizing the impact on schooling or other areas of future development.

Consultation with a speech therapist, speech therapist, or speech pathologist should take place when parents notice that their child is not reaching the language milestones for their age mentioned at the beginning of the note.

Speech therapy for children who speak late is based on support and guidance to parents through the teaching of strategies to increase comprehensive and expressive vocabulary in daily activities and routines. It is a family-centered approach, not just the child.

The therapist will accompany the families, helping to detect and increase back-and-forth interactions. They will work together taking into account the communication profile of the child (reluctant, avoidant, sociable or passive) and modifying the family communication profile to promote better access to the acquisition of that child's language, adjusted to their individual needs.

This family intervention includes the incorporation of visual aids such as bimodal communication, use of pictograms, visual agendas, calendars, etc.

Family, therapist and child form a great team and working together is the key to obtaining good results. The window of opportunity when a child is young is always bigger! Parents will never regret consulting early!

You can read more articles similar to Symptoms that alert that your child is a late speaker, in the Language category - On-site speech therapy.

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