Pediatric speech therapy: language milestones for 6-12 months.

Pediatric speech therapy: language milestones for 6-12 months.

Are you noticing your child might not be talking as much as the kids in his or her preschool and you’re wondering if they should see a speech therapist?  This is a very common concern for many parents and one that is easily answered:  Go-with-your gut and seek out a speech language pathologist!  They will give you the answers you need and perform standardized language and articulation tests to determine if your little one would benefit from direct speech therapy services.   

General guidelines and developmental milestones for speech and language acquisition can be broken down into a few age categories.  If you’re not seeing your child perform some or all of these tasks at the appropriate times, then they may benefit from speech therapy.  Here are the milestones to keep track of: At 6 months of age, your child should vocalize with inflection (coo or babble), laugh with familiar people, and turn their head to observe the source of a voice.  Likewise, they may cry when they hear an angry tone or laugh when they hear a playful tone.  At 8 months of age, your child should respond to his/her name and should be trying to model common sounds. At 12 months of age, your child should hopefully imitate familiar words and be using one to three words with meaning, like “mama” or “dada”. Also, at the one-year mark, you should find that your child engages with you in games like Pat-a-cake, and comprehends one-step instructions. 

Learning to play with a child isn’t easy.  Here are some ideas that may help stimulate your child’s speech and language through activities and games that are appropriate for children 6-12 months of age. First, treat and respond to your child’s coos, babbling and other noises as if they’re real language.  Imitate them back to your child and they will soon learn to reverse the roles, so that they will imitate you.  Talk to your child during your daily care activities, using concrete language.  For instance, “Here comes the water!  It’s warm.  We have to rinse the soap from your hair.”  Read children’s books to your little one every day.  Don’t simply read the sentences from the book, but point out pictures seen throughout the pages.  Sing nursery rhymes and songs using hand motions and engaging facial expressions.  Show interest in all the different sounds you hear: “Did you hear the doorbell ringing? Let’s see who is outside!” Share eye-contact during your interactions — this is an easy task while having snacks or at other mealtimes.  And finally, don’t be afraid to be silly and get on the floor to play with your little one! Demonstrate your joy and enthusiasm at all of his or hers attempts to communicate.

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Parents in the Portland Metro region who have concern regarding a child’s language skills should take action and contact a Speech Therapist.  Beyond the Clinic  is happy to report that we have a wonderful speech language pathologist on-staff, who does house-calls to work with her pediatric clients.