Guidelines To Baby Communication

Thursday, August 30, 2012
It hit me like a brick wall. My son is experiencing issues with his speech. That was the bottom line of his last doctor's appointment. Nothing else really mattered to tell you he truth. Being told that, at 18 months, your son is not anywhere close to uttering words like he should be is shocking. Heartbreaking. Even though I know deep down inside that I shouldn't jump to conclusions nor drive myself overboard before having all the facts in front of me, my little mama heart is still devastated by the fact that my son is not "normal". At least that's how the doctor kindly presented it. My greatest hope right now lays on the fact that a trouble with his hearing could be to blame, therefore causing my son to have difficulty perceiving noises and sounds as clearly as he should be. He would encounter difficulties recreating the words he hears due to the fact that everything he does hear sound muffle. Now what if his hearing is perfectly fine? What else could be the cause of this impairment? Well, it pretty much boils down to two possibilities: he either has a complication with speech, which would eventually require the intervention of a speech specialist, or he's just slow. Lovely. I do not want to think that far ahead though. I will stay positive, at least for now. One step at a time...

I find comfort in knowing it could be something far worst (for now that is) and by reminding myself that my son is certainly not the only one in this predicament. And so, in the meantime, while I wait not so patiently for this storie's outcome, I wanted to bring some information your way. Basic guidelines to help you through one of the most important milestones in your child's life: his or her first words.

Let's take a look at the communication development in babies. 

3 Months

  • Is startled by a sudden, loud noise.
  • Is soothed or calmed by your voice.
  • Cries, gurgles, grunts.

6 Months

  • Stirs or awakens to voices when sleeping quietly.
  • Turns head or moves eyes to find a familiar voice.
  • Makes different cries for different needs.

9 Months

  • Responds to his/her name.
  • Understands common words like "no" and "bye bye".
  • Uses gestures, reaches for items. 
  • Babbles, repeats babbling sounds.

12 Months

  • Follows simple, single-step instructions.
  • Combines sounds as if talking.
  • Consistently uses three to five words.
  • Uses gestures: waves "bye bye", shakes head "no".

18 Months

  • Minimum of four different consonant sounds: p, b, m, n, d, g, w, h.
  • Points to body parts and pictures in books when asked.
  • Consistently uses 20 or more words.
  • Responds with words to simple questions: "Where's kitty?", "Whats this?".

24 Months
  • Follows two-step directions.
  • Uses 100-150 words.
  • Begins to speak in 2-word combinations like "mommy shoe!".
  • Others can understand child's speech 50-60% percent of the time.

30 Months
  • Uses action words: laugh, run, dro.
  • Uses words with two or more syllables: "ba-na-na".
  • Has a 350+ vocabulary.

In order to encourage your child's language, there are many tips out there to help you. For example, making music a part of your daily activities, naming what your baby sees (ball, truck, flower, etc.), looking at books, and telling your little one what you're doing ("mommy is washing your face", "daddy is putting on your shirt"). Going to new places and doing many various activities will also be key elements in your child's speech development. Talking, singing and laughing should be the main ingredients of your daily routine with your kiddo. Use a lot of different words, opposites (in/out) and descriptions (happy, funny, sad, etc). And always, always, praise your child's efforts to communicate!

As this ordeal is currently serving me as a challenge and learning experience, I bear in mind that children are individuals who grow at different rates and communicate in unique ways. As babies grow, their hearing, sight and voices develop into language skills that will affect every aspect of their lives, in the close and near future. That's why it is important, if not crucial, that, if you have any concerns about your child's hearing or speech, you address it with your doctor or audiologist as soon as possible. 
If newborn hearing screening isn't offered in your hospital, visit a paediatric audiologist for a hearing test for your baby. Early detection of hearing loss is significant.  Would I have known about these facts earlier, I would have undeniably taken the necessary steps in rectifying the situation to the best of my ability. But for now, at this point in time, I can only do everything that's within my power to help my little man out and just hope for the best.

*Information provided by The Hearing Foundation of Canada

9 Fabulous Comments:

Mudpiesandtiaras said...

Speech problems can really be quite common and easy to fix. I used to work in this field. Hang in there!!!

Mama to 4 said...

we use alot of sign language and that helps too!

Sofia said...

Hang in there!!

Trisha said...

My daughter has a tough time communicating and like the tip you mentioned above, I always try naming what she sees and encourage her to use words.

Hopefully everything turns out well in your sons situation =)


My daughter is delayed in her speech by over 12 months. It's quite frustrating when you see other kids your child's age speaking full sentences and your child barely has 20 words in their vocabulary. We have her in speech therapy and over therapies, we use sign language, and we work with her continually. There is nothing wrong with her physically or her hearing.

I know how frustrating it can be. We just have to keep hanging in there, helping our child as much as you can and then look for those tiny victories, like your child SPOKE that day. YEAH! Your child said a new word! Yeah! Your child actually used a word you've been working on without being prompted! YEAH!!!!!!

Hang in there. You aren't alone.

Melissa + Tiffany @ Home Grown Families said...

I heard that it is very common for boys to have speech delays. I hope that all he needs is some sessions with a ST and he is on the go.
When my girls started with their problems, the first thing I did was take them to an Audiologist bc hearing problems can manifest themselves in many different ways. My girls ended up being diagnosed with Autism {I'm sure that's not our issue!!} but one of them has been in speech for 6 years.
My biggest word of advice is to make sure you follow your gut! You know our baby~ don't let the Dr's tell you something you don't think is true. Also, get referrals through the Pediatrician, not the school {if he's in one} and do all your testing privately.
Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

(((HUGS))) I feel your pain. Dinosaur had speech services from about 20 months to his third birthday. I had to fight hard for the services and despite waht others told me I KNOW he needed speech. He is doing well now, but I am going to keep a watch over him.

My advice is listen to your mommy instincts and don't stop fighting. Your his mom and advocate and know better than anyone what he needs.

Irish Carter said...

Wishing you the best of luck and just love and guide that little guy...everyone goes at their own speed. Plus, alot of development is also determined by birth orders. My first born didn't develop nearly as fast as the second and third. Why? Because the 2nd and 3rd had someone to follow. If there is just one, it often takes a little more time. = ) Best of luck, wishing you the best.


Kristyn said...

I wish you the best of luck and hope everything works out well.

Post a Comment