Most babies begin talking by the time they turn two and parents relish the period when the first baby babbles turn to words and sentences. It can also be a big concern when toddler speech gets delayed. If you are alarmed, the following timeline for child speech development should guide you to get an understanding of what to expect in speech development. However, remember that every child develops differently and delayed speech is not always an indication of your child’s intellectual growth.
An indicative timeline for toddler speech development.
4 to 6 months: Your baby begins babbling and makes simple vowel sounds.
6 to 9 months: Your baby responds when called by name or by familiar sounds. The baby mocks familiar sounds.
12 months: Once your baby turns a year old, the babbling takes to a new high. Some babies say simple words, like ‘mama’ ‘papa’ or names of people close to him/her. As your little one nears 12 months, he/she begins gesturing, waving hands to say bye or shaking the head to say ‘No’.
12 to 18 months: Your baby can respond to simple instructions, and some of them can even name body parts.
18 to 24 months: Now, your baby is able to mouth simple lines. Your baby can communicate his/her needs fairly well. However, you may comprehend only half of what he/she tries to convey.
When to worry?
Speech development and its patterns vary among babies.Your baby could be lagging behind if you notice the following:
- Your baby does not pay attention to others, and is not responsive to instructions made to him/ her.
- Musical sounds, sounds of moving toys, television, or games do not catch his attention at all.
- Your baby has not said even one word by the age of 18 months.
- By the age of 3, he cannot communicate his simple needs, and sticks to one syllable words.
It is comforting to know that most late beginners catch up on their own without much external help. Moreover, help is available in the forms of speech therapy for late talkers and other medical interventions, where needed.