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HELP! My child does not talk.

Most parents excitedly acknowledge the first-time baby accomplishes any new skill.

At the same time, however, parents’ anxiety tends to peak when they feel a delay in their child’s ability to reach developmental milestones timeously.

Language is one of those areas that parents keenly watch.

Developmental norms for speech and language are that children begin to babble between 2 and 6 months, say their first words between 10 and 15 months and speak by approximately two years.

Few, however, realise that babies communicate long before they speak a single word.

A baby’s cry, smile, babbling and responses to their parent’s interaction with them non-verbally communicate how the baby is feeling and what their needs are.

When should a parent start to be concerned about speech delays in their child:

• If your child is 15 months or older and has not said their first word or relies heavily on pointing and reaching to show what they want, there is a possibility of a language delay.

• Parents, however, should look at their child’s overall development as some children are early walkers and late talkers, and others are early talkers but late walkers. Each child is unique and matures at their own pace.

What action can be taken to improve the situation?

• Consult a medical professional if you are concerned about your child’s development. The earlier any delay in speech is identified, the quicker it can be rectified.

• Speak to your child often using language they can understand and mimic.

• Help your child understand and ask questions. Play fun silly nonsense games like” yes…. Susie is a girl, and no… pigs do not fly. “

• Read to them as much as possible. • Sing simple songs and say nursery rhymes to help them learn the rhythm of speech.

• Encourage your child rather than criticise. Praise, praise, praise!

URL – 10 fun activities to boost your toddler’s language development:

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