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When to start worrying about speech delays - Part 1

When to start worrying about speech delays - Part 1

As people who have been put in charge of tiny human beings, we worry. We worry about their first steps, first food, first roll, first tooth, first words, and pretty much everything else.

Milestones give us immense joy, no matter how small. For the world, it might just be cooing, but the first time the baby does that brings so much happiness. For an outsider, it might look like a casual roll over to the other side, but parents can’t stop smiling ear to ear when that happens.

In this article, we will talk about speech milestones in particular.

Let us talk about when it is okay to start worrying about speech milestones.

Most babies speak their first words between 9-14 months. It is by this time that the baby babble will start to take shape and vowel sounds will be joined with consonants. Babies will find a 2–3-word vocabulary to express and ask for things they want like mamma, da-da, dudu (or another equivalent for milk), etc.

Apart from this the following pointers give you more insights into a potential delay:

- Does the baby smile/recognize when they look at themselves in the mirror?

- Does the baby point at things they want?

- Does the baby try to mimic your sounds and inflection?

- Does the baby respond to their name when called?

- When asked questions like, ‘where is daddy’, are they able to or try to find him in the room?

- Do they respond to simple directions like ‘pick this up’, or ‘come here’?

There are plenty of anecdotes you will find which say some babies are late bloomers and they will start speaking when they get more interaction. This may be true, but the references are purely anecdotal. Research states that an early intervention with any developmental delays can go a long way in supporting the child with the best approach. A consultation with a developmental pediatrician cannot hurt. The ‘wait and watch’ or ‘let them be’ approach may do more harm than good.

In the next article, we will look at speech milestones for older babies. Meanwhile, if you have success stories with speech therapy, we would love to hear your experiences.
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