Grow Up Strong -- Identify and Treat Speech Problems Early
Children are born with an innate drive to speak, and they soon learn to repeat and understand the basic sounds they hear. At the same time, there are many factors that can interfere with proper speech and language development.
Kids develop at very different rates, but the following are potential warning signs of a speech or hearing disorder:
- Not babbling or using his or her own language by 15 to 18 months of age.
- Not talking, or speaking just a few words by age 2.
- Using mostly vowels, or leaving off the beginning sounds of words at age 3.
- Mixing up most words and grammar at age 5.
- Not mastering all speech sounds by age 8.
Because your child's ability to hear, understand, and be understood is fundamental to his or her growth and development, it is essential that you identify and treat speech and language problems early.
Speech development is crucial in all aspects of a child's life. When identified and treated early, most speech and language problems can be corrected with speech therapy, which can help avoid other related problems, such as reading disabilities and low self-esteem.
If not properly treated, even mild communication difficulties can limit child development, especially the ability to interact with others. Certain language disorders may progress to lifelong communicative impairments. Such disabilities can have significant negative consequences on a child's social, emotional, and academic development.