If you believe your toddler is having a problem properly developing speech, a doctor specializing in speech pathology can help put your worries at rest or create a positive therapy regimen to get them back on track. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if a toddler has a problem, or is just developing differently. Each child develops at their own rate, and they have different personalities. One child may be particularly talkative and another may have excellent speech skills, but simply be more reserved. It's easy to get worried about your child, but by keeping in good communication with their doctor, you can address any problems, should they arise.
For a toddler, some issues with speech are typical, such as difficulty making certain sounds or periods of not talking much because of contentment or shyness. If you have reason to believe there may be an issue beyond the normal circumstances, then take a few notes before your child's next doctor's visit. The more information that can be provided to the doctor, the better the diagnosis they can make through speech pathology. Start with the words that your child understands. Pay attention to how well they comprehend when you ask them questions, tell them stories, and interact with them.
It is said that it is quite normal for toddlers to understand words perfectly, but not quite have the skills to use them. It takes time to develop vocabulary. Watch how much they talk when they interact with you, and what other things they do to make their point. If your child wants something, they simply may not know the words. Speech pathology supports that if they use complex gestures, like grab your hand and walk you to an item or point to something out of reach, then they are on the right track. It means they are learning. Once they have comprehension, children typically begin speaking within a short time. It could be helpful to praise them when they do use words, rather than gestures.
Speech pathology studies prove that making certain sounds in the English language are complicated and difficult for most young children to do correctly. Some medical professionals believe that you should encourage them to try. If they get it wrong, praise them for the effort and gently repeat the word with the correct pronunciation. Pay attention to how their words are formed and if there seems to be a problem with forming any particular sounds. Common sense dictates that with practice, they will soon get it right. However, it could be smart to mention to the doctor if you notice a consistent problem.
In order to asses if your child is developing at a normal rate, or if they need a little help, the doctor will perform a few simple tests. The field of speech pathology has a few benchmarks by which they can measure your child's aptitude. The information you provide about their daily interactions is key. A hearing test might be used, along with some simple interactions for the doctor to assess cognitive levels. In many cases, the child is just fine and simply needs more time to continue on their path. In other cases, the issues can be adjusted with simple therapy methods. Often, children continue to develop, with no trace of the former issue.
Remember to check with your doctor before taking any treatment or medical remedy.