A lot of parents do not know exactly how to understand their child’s behavior. In fact, many go years without noticing a condition that plagues their child. This is because most people are not doctors and always want to assume their child is just like everyone else. However, it is important to always be on the look out for any physical, emotional or developmental conditions that your child may develop over time. The next steps are to understand and, if possible, work on fixing any that may arise. While not all symptoms are obvious, here are five checkpoints at which to measure whether your child has a speech and language delay. It would behoove you to look out for these as your child matures.
Before 18 months, it is difficult for many parents to understand the state of their child’s development. However, by the time your child is 18 months old, he or she should know a few words – 15-20 words, to be exact, including names. If they cannot speak, or only know a couple of words, they may have a slight language delay. It is important at this stage to consult a doctor, monitor how he or she develops.
By the time your child is two years old, he or she should be able to say two word sentences. Their vocabulary should be growing, and they should even understand sounds of familiar animals. A child of this age should also know how to communicate his or her very basic needs.
By the time a child is three years old, he or she should be able to identify body parts and should have a vocabulary of around 450 words. Not only that, he or she should be able to combine nouns and verbs. They should understand you most of the time, even if you’re speaking at a much higher level. Often at this age, a child will enjoy storytelling and will ask you to tell the same story over and over.
By the time a child is four years old, he or she should be able to tell a story, and their sentences should be at least four to five words long. By this point, their vocabulary should be around one thousand words. The child should also know their full name and the name of the street they live on.
When your child reaches six years old, their sentences should be around five to six words. Their vocabulary should be around 2,000 words. At this point, they will hopefully be able to communicate with all levels of speakers and have a basic conversation. In short, they should be well on their way to mastering their native language.
There is nothing to necessarily worry about if your child has not passed these milestones. He or she could be a late bloomer, or there could be other things at work here. Make sure to get your child’s hearing and vision tested though, just in case. This should really be routine for all kids though, so hopefully this check up won’t inconvenience you in the slightest. Poor hearing and vision often result in poor learning, especially among very young children. If your child has good hearing and vision, it may be time to take him or her to a specialist. A specialist can determine the best course of action to fix the issue. It is pertinent to take care of the issue as young as possible – this will ensure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your child on track for success.
Author Pam Johnson is a nurse in the Speech and Hearing department at her hospital.