3 Things your little one should be able to do before they start speaking

There is nothing that is more exciting than having a baby and getting to be the part of the journey from their first cry to the time when they become an adult. Most moms will tell you that bringing up a child is no simple task, even in the best of all circumstances. There will be moments that you doubt yourself, moments when you feel like you are not up to the task. However, these are the moments which define motherhood and the fact that they are interspersed with moments of pure delight makes it all worth it.

Developmental milestones

No child has a similar developmental path with the next. While the general order in which the milestones take place could be similar across the board, the timelines and the speed at which your child grasps concepts will vary from even their twin’s. However, pediatricians do give general guidelines into the milestones that your baby should have reached by a certain age, and while it is not a competition, the guidelines help you determine whether the child needs special assistance to achieve a milestone. Here are the children and speech related things that your child should be able to do before they start speaking.

Crying and comforting sounds

When a baby is born, the first and the only way they know how to interact with you and the environment is through crying. The child will cry when hungry, tired, feeling hot or cold, uncomfortable or because of colic. It is upon you to figure out the reason behind the discomfort and rectify it and when you do, the crying stops. By the time the child is about a month old, they will start learning how to coo and to make other comforting sounds. The comfort sounds are short, and they are connected to particular body movements. At around this age, the baby also develops sucking sounds, especially when they get used to wearing a pacifier. Then, by the time they are five months old, the crying has become less spastic and is more rhythmic and intentional.

Developing the first words

The next children and speech related developmental milestone that your child will reach between six and nine months is that they will start making early speech sounds such as ooh and ahh. At around this age, they will also learn how to disconnect making sounds and body movements such that they can say a word without moving any part of their body. They will develop what is known as a baby babble where you cannot really make out any word, but they are continuously vocalizing things. By the time your child reaches nine months, they will probably have mumbled some words, depending on the person whose name they hear mentioned the most.

The walking plateau

When your child reaches the age of 11 to 15 months, they learn how to walk. Watching their first steps creates an unmatched feeling of accomplishment. However, something else happens around this time. One, because all the motor skill involved in the walking, the development of speech will become stunted. It is therefore not abnormal to find that your child is unable to speak while they walk. This plateau may last until the child is one and a half years and they have mastered the walking skill completely. However, from the age of 18 months onwards, your child will start early speech by distorting words, and they will also start learning jargon. By the time the child is between 21 and 24 months, they will be in a position to use some vocabulary and even express themselves using words more than two-thirds of the time. Complete speech ability will be registered anywhere between the second and the third year.

When the child does not follow the curve

There are circumstances under which your child may fail to follow the stated language development curve. This could happen due to the child’s genetic disposition or as a result of conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, ADD and others. While these conditions slow down the speed at which the child achieves their developmental milestone, they do not completely stop the process. What these conditions simply mean is that:

· Mommy and child will have to work a little harder to achieve the milestones

· There will be need for professional assistance and therapy to reach the milestones

· Each achievement will be even more precious than it would have been under normal circumstances

The most important thing about dealing with a child whose developmental curve is a little different is knowing that you are not alone in the journey and finding the right people with the knowledge and experience to assist your child gain the highest level of the required skills and milestones. Patience and willingness to learn with your child will help you get there eventually.

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