Babies and Speech Development 👶 💬
Deep dive with Little News
Hi Little News fam! We are constantly improving our newsletter and will start sending out our deep dives in a separate email every Saturday morning. Below is the deep dive from this past week. We hope it’s useful to your families ❤️
This week’s deep dive was prepared by Tasha Vogel-Seidenberg, a speech language-pathologist in Marin County, CA. She specializes in students preschool -5th grade. Tasha is passionate about helping children and their families navigate through the special ed world. If you would like to communicate with Tasha, her email is email@example.com.
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Speech milestones and when to intervene
There has been a lot of talk about speech and language milestones, and when intervention is necessary. Recently, the CDC changed speech and language milestones without consulting speech and language professionals. They basically made the ages in which a child needs to be speaking later, which may cause many parents to “wait and see” instead of getting help when needed for their child. Here are some basic guidelines for milestones (keep in mind – every child is different! Please visit ASHA.org for more information).
6months: babbling sounds (example: “ba”).
12 months: around this age, first words can start to emerge (but sometimes it takes longer too!). Strings of sounds emerge, such as “bababa” and “mamamama.” Children start to understand simple words, especially things in their everyday world (such as “mama”, “dada”, “milk” and “dog” for example).
18 months: use approximately 10-20 words; can follow simple directions; label objects in their environment.
2 years: start combining 2+ words; have 50+ words in vocabulary. Visit https://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/12/ for more in-depth information regarding milestones. As a mom of 2 boys, and an SLP, I understand how stressful it can be when your little one isn’t talking or isn’t meeting their milestones as they should. With regards to when to seek help – you can always bring up concerns to your pediatrician regarding milestones. However, if you’re concerned, you can contact an SLP for a speech and language evaluation. Many SLPs will do a free phone call in which you can voice your concerns, and they can provide valuable guidance about how to proceed.
Tips to get your baby to speak:
Start with the baby sign language! The ones I started with were “more”, “food”, “milk”, “all done” and “water” (and of course, I threw “mama” in there). Here is a great youtube video with early signs:
Label things in your environment, using simple, clear, and concise words. If you see a dog, you can say “dog” and point to the dog. A child is more likely to imitate a word if it is clear and concise, as opposed to an entire sentence (Example: “I see a big brown dog on the bench in the park!” ).
If your baby wants something (let’s take “milk” for example), if they are reaching for their bottle, say “Milk,” pause, and see if they will repeat the word/sign (or both) before you hand them what they want. Then you hand them the desired item. If they don’t say/sign the word, that is ok – at least they will be learning the vocabulary word, and they will eventually begin to say it.
How to increase your toddler’s vocabulary
Model/label things you see! For example, nature walks are a great way to practice vocabulary. You can play games such as “I spy” while walking. It’s a low-pressure, fun way to practice vocabulary! We also love to collect small items from our walk (stick, flower, rock, etc.) and then talk about them when we get home!
Books, books books (I know - you have heard this a million times!). Label what you see, talk about the characters, colors, and anything that your child is interested in. We have many sportsbooks because that is what my boys are passionate about.
Learn about their day (if they are at school daycare); this was a game-changer for my oldest son. When my son was about 2 and a half – he couldn’t tell me what he did at school. I sent a small notebook (you can get one from Marshalls/Target) with him to school and asked his teachers to write down 2-3 things that he did that day (and it can be so simple – “Played with Lucy” or “Painted a picture”). We then talked about these things and he was so excited that I knew what he did during his day. This is a wonderful way to get more information about the day.