Learning to talk is not always a simple process, so here are some great tips from our friendly speech therapist, Catherine Jackson.
I remember thinking that my children's language development would be amazing. I'm a speech and language therapist so naturally, I would be having linguistically complex conversations with them at the age of two. Other mothers would be dazzled by their vocabulary. At their two year check, the health visitor would pass their communication skills with gold stars all around. That was before I had children. Fast forward a few years. Child number one wasn't too bad, though not as advanced as she should have been, given the intensive knowledge I was imparting in her direction. As for child number two? To quote the health visitor at his two year check “If you weren't a speech therapist, I would recommend you go and see a speech therapist.” No gold stars. No two word combinations to make the HV happy. Not even any single words. I think he might have grunted when I asked him what a pig said. That was it. However, I knew he'd be fine. He had all the building blocks for language; he just needed a little more time.
But what if you're not a speech and language therapist? What if you don't know what your child should and shouldn't be doing at their age? Where do you go for help and what can you do?
Learning to talk involves the development and interaction of many different skills. Although all the elements of communication are inextricably linked, they can be broken up into (not exclusively) the following:
As I can testify, all children develop their first words at different times. Some may be as young as 10 months, some may be later. But you might find the following guidelines useful:
Between 8 - 12 months your child might start to:
By 18 months your child might be: