There is a constant development in a child from the day he or she is born. Milestones between birth to 1 year are the crucial ones which form the foundation of a child’s communication skills.
The environment plays a key role too. Some children will develop certain speech and language skills quicker than others. However, despite a bit of difference between children, we expect most children to develop these milestones within a certain time-frame. The developmental milestones could be categorized into various segments. They are-
- Speech Skills
- Auditory Skills
- Language Comprehension Skills
- Language Expression Skills
- Motor Skills
- Social Skills
What can you do to help?
- Check your child’s ability to hear, and pay attention to ear problems and infections, especially when they keep occurring.
- Reinforce your baby’s communication attempts by looking at him or her, speaking, and imitating his or her vocalizations.
- Repeat his or her laughter and facial expressions.
- Teach your baby to imitate actions, such as peekaboo, clapping, blowing kisses, pat-a-cake, itsy bitsy spider, and waving bye-bye. These games teach turn taking that is needed for conversation.
- Talk while you are doing things, such as dressing, bathing, and feeding (e.g., “Mommy is washing Sam’s hair”; “Sam is eating carrots”; “Oh, these carrots are good!”).
- Talk about where you are going, what you will do once you get there, and who and what you’ll see (e.g., “Sam is going to Grandma’s house. Grandma has a dog. Sam will pet the dog.”).
- Teach animal sounds (e.g., “A cow says ‘moo'”).
- Communicate with your child in the language you are most comfortable using.
It is important that parents seek advice from a Speech and Language Therapist if:
- A child does not respond to mothers speech by staring or smiling
- A child does not achieve neck control until 6 months of age
- Sucking and feeding is an issue
- A child does not cry for indicating needs even after 8-9 months
- Does not respond to name call
- Does not recognize parents
- No eye contact while speaking to child