I am always looking for posts like THIS one over at Mamapedia . We as parents are always worried about out child's development, and if they are up to par with their peers. I have known many parents, usually us moms, of course, who even keep a journal documenting how many words/sentences our child(ren) have at certain points in time. Of course, it does not help that pediatricians (and other parents) tend to make us feel that our children should have a certain amount of words at a certain time, or they may have a speech delay, we are not working with them enough, or that they will never be at the same level as their peers one in school.
All children develop at their own pace. This includes walking, talking, toilet training, reading, and more. One should never use another child as a gauge as to where their own child should be. Most children develop their first word aroung 12 months and by 16 months have approxiamtely 5 words. Most do not start speaking in multiple word sentences until close to 22-24 months. Of course, there will be some below and above this norm. If your child is not using any sounds to communicate by 15 months, then it may be time to look into
speech services, but, if they are using some sounds and at least 5-10 words to let you know what they want, then there is probably nothing at all to worry about.
Some great ways to help your child develop a better vocabulary, is to constantly talk to them, label things around the house and outside, read to them, and even use sign language. Many think that using sign language with hearing children will hinder verbal communication, but in fact, it will do the exact opposite! Research conclusively indicates that babies who sign tend to have a stronger command of verbal language and often begin speaking at an earlier age than babies who do not sign. Countless parents and caregivers have confirmed these findings with their personal experiences and observations. In addition, many Speech-Language professionals, pediatricians, and educators are supporting the use of signs to encourage early language development.
Bottom line, if you feel that your child may have a delay in any area, talk to your doctor!! If you feel that your child is fine, and just needs some time to catch up, work with your child, and encourage them to talk to you!
I am the mom of 4 wonderful kids, 3 boys and 1 girl. Looking at them, you know I have had many years working with and enriching the lives of children. I have an Associates (Magna Cum Laude) in Business Management, and a Bachelors in Early childhood Development and Education with a concentration in Child Psychology. I have almost 20 years in the Early Childhood field, and loving every minute of it! You can visit my site here