Speech in toddlers

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September 3, 2012 by parentinginindia

Speech is an important milestone in a toddlers’ developmental life cycle. It’s hard not to be concerned about speech delays in toddlers, especially when every other toddler in
the neighbourhood or in your known circle of friends or relatives seems to be speaking in
full sentences and yours is not. The very first point you need to keep in mind that
comparing kids isn’t wise, each kid is intellectually different.

children learn to talk at different rates, and not only is that normal, there’s usually good reason for it. Some toddlers develop early in other areas (like climbing and jumping and other physical tasks) master language more slowly because they’re so busy concentrating on those other skills. Some children whose parents are quick to anticipate their needs are slower to speak up, too — because there is less of a need to.

Dhruv is a late talker, he didnt speak a word till 1 year 11months, his mode of communication was actions and gestures(which still is an integral part of his communication).Until the age of two he only used to babble a few words like -“dada, ma, nana and baba”.  I got terribly worried of his speech delay and went through a lot of resource on the net. I even went to the extend of testing his hearing and understanding skill by asking him basic question like – “are you hungry?”, “Will you go out to the park?” etc., his replies in gestures(again) confirmed the fact that he could hear and understand fine.

Another important factor of delayed speech relates to brain development. IN general, females are predominantly “left-brained”, while males are more “right-brained”. The left hemisphere manages grammar and speech while the right hemisphere oversees actions, feelings and meanings of words. However, due to the effects of testosterone (such as restlessness and distraction) on the male child’s right brain hemisphere, his left brain hemisphere becomes inhibited, thus delaying his acquisition of speech and language skills. Male toddlers have more difficulty managing their voices as well as listening and processing speech. These tendencies in turn affect the male toddler’s ability to increase his vocabulary and express himself appropriately.

Delayed language development is not necessarily cause for alarm, as each child progresses at his own pace. Some boys are merely “late bloomers” who eventually demonstrate typical language development. A toddler normally acquires communication skills between the ages of two and three years old: vocabulary of around 300 words, ability to speak in short sentences,  identification of himself as “me,” recognition of some basic concepts such as big and little, and ability to match a few colors, answering to basis questions with – “yes or no”.

As a parent you can initiate and facilitate language development by reading books that engage toddlers in conversation, which will aid in language development. Continuous and consistent discussion about cars, sounds made by various animals-e.g. dog goes bow-wow, cat goes meow,pig goes oink-oink etc, do-to-day activities and one-to-one interaction between your toddler and you is beneficial in both structured and sponteneous speech development. Encouragement and praise over each small victory can yield larger accomplishments that will lay the foundation for successful communication skills later in life.

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