Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Encourage Language in Toddlers: Part One

Encouraging Language in Toddlers: Introduction and Disclaimer

Lately I've had a few parents of one and two year olds ask me: "My child isn't really talking yet..should I be worried?" followed by "What should I do?"  In moments like this, my role as an SLP requires me to not only give a correct answer, but also make it somewhat short, without using a whole bunch of acronyms or strange vocabulary, give good resources and advice, and also assure Mom that she is doing a good job.  So I told myself, "It's time for Speaking of Kids to do a series on this subject!"

Let me start off with a little disclaimer: This series is not meant to replace a thorough speech/language evaluation.  If you have concerns about your child, you really ought to find a local friendly Speech-Language Pathologist who can evaluate your child's own specific strengths and weaknesses to determine a) what the problem is, b) what to do about it, and c) if there are any other underlying factors to take into account (such as apraxia, autism, syndromes, etc.)  The tips I will share are the tips another SLP would probably give you, so why not start now??

The first step is to decide if your child is behind or not.  Sometimes that can be very obvious, other times it's not.  But in this series I will be mostly focusing on Expressive Vocabulary, so here are the facts:

  • At twelve months old, your child should be just starting to use words, maybe using one or two fairly consistently. (Usually "Momma", "Bottle", "Up"....)  (More on that here)
  •  By 18 months, they should be using at least 10 words, and possibly up to 50. (More on that here)
  • At 24 months, a child should be using between 200 and 300 words.  They should be starting to put two words together soon.  
  • By 36 months, they should use about 1000 words.  Wow! (More on that here)
Now you are armed with knowledge!  If you think your child is behind, don't panic.  Find a speech therapist to talk to you specifically about your child.  Nothing is worse than wondering.  Just take action and see where it takes you.  In the meantime, I hope you're excited because the next post will be about the FIRST step to take if you think your child might be a little behind in language development.  See you next time!

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