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.
- Is startled by a sudden, loud noise.
- Is soothed or calmed by your voice.
- Cries, gurgles, grunts.
- Stirs or awakens to voices when sleeping quietly.
- Turns head or moves eyes to find a familiar voice.
- Makes different cries for different needs.
- Responds to his/her name.
- Understands common words like "no" and "bye bye".
- Uses gestures, reaches for items.
- Babbles, repeats babbling sounds.
- Follows simple, single-step instructions.
- Combines sounds as if talking.
- Consistently uses three to five words.
- Uses gestures: waves "bye bye", shakes head "no".
- 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?".
- 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.
- 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