Learning to speak

Children learn to speak at widely varying ages, some very early at six months, but more commonly first words come around 12 to 18 months of age, while others need more time. Mostly speech is preceded by babbling and nonsense words, but some 'perfectionists' are silent until such time they feel confident that they can say words properly. Some children with 'speech delay' will suddenly come out with whole sentences.

Learning to speak

Many parents are anxious about their child's development and understandably especially about speech. For those children that do not yet speak after their third birthday and that often are diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum, speech can become the main focus of attention. Although there is no universally recognised 'cure' for speech delay, it is possible to promote speech development through neuro-sensory activation, speech and language therapy and intensive behavioural and social interactions. Remember, there are far more non-verbal children than non-verbal adults, proving that the majority learns to speak at some stage during childhood.

Some children can speak, but have a limited vocabulary, poor pronunciation, make many grammatical mistakes, find it difficult to construct a sentence, or have a stammer. In most cases this is directly related to how they process language and speech in the brain, compounded possibly by a left-ear dominance. Poor synchronisation and slow signal transference between the two sides of the brain may also play part in these complex conditions. For children that have been struggling for some years, confidence and self-esteem also start to play a role in their performance.

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Encouraging speech development

If your child has speech delay, then try some of these hints and tips that you can try yourself at home: