[Feature Article] The Malaysian Women's Weekly: Is your kid having speech difficulties?

The Malaysian Women's Weekly published an article on speech delays and milestones of typical speech development.

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Is Your Kid Having Speech Difficulties? Here’s How You Can Identify Speech Delay

Published in: The Malaysian Women's Weekly

Published on: 7th September 2016

Written by: Jasnitha Nair

When it comes to expressing thoughts and feelings, children start as early as 2 months old. This is when the adorable cooing and gurgling sounds begin. While some children do experience some speech delay, in some kids this could be a sign of developmental problems.

According to The Early Autism Project, The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has listed down the usual red flags of speech delay that parents should look out for in a child. These include:

  • No babbling or cooing by 12 months
  • No gestures (finger point, wave or grasp) by 12 months
  • No single words by 16 months
  • No two-word phrases by 24 months
  • Any loss of language skill at any age

Meanwhile, these are milestones that parents can look out for in their children to identify typical speech development:

BY 6 MONTHS

Babies should be able to respond to their own names, respond to sounds by making sounds and make sounds to show joy or displeasure. They should also be able to make consonant sounds – babbles we hear often have consonant sounds with “m” and “b” letter sounds.

BY 1 YEAR

For this milestone, children should be able to imitate the words that you say. They should also have simple gestures, such as waving goodbye or shaking their head to communicate “no”. Usually by 1 year, children will begin to call out to their parents, like “mama” and “dada”.

BY 2 YEARS

Children should be able to point to pictures or things in a book. By 2 years, children also should be able to say sentences with two to four words. More specifically, they would also be able to know names of familiar people or body parts.

BY 3 YEARS

Here, children can usually say their first name, age and sex. They should be able to say words like “I”, “me”, “we” and “you”. It is vital that they are able to carry on a conversation with two to three sentences. With the benefit of an active community around them, they should also be able to name a friend and most familiar things.

BY 4 YEARS

Children should be able to say their first and last name. They are typically also able to sing a song or a nursery rhyme from memory or tell stories. Grammar should be natural to them by now, such as using “he” or “she correctly”.

While every child learns differently, these milestones describe the general understanding of developmental milestones. Monitoring your child’s development against these milestones is crucial and parents are advised to take precautionary steps if there are any signs of delay. We believe that early intervention is important and with proper steps, these delays can be overcome.