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Speech & Language in Northern New Jersey

Poor speech and language development can result in academic struggles, not to mention difficulty communicating. The speech and language services provided by Psycho-Educational Associates have helped hundreds of New Jersey children over the years to gain a new outlook on life.

Regular Speech and Language Development

It can often be difficult to determine whether a child’s communication skills are developing at a slower rate than others his or her age. Because of this, it is important to talk about your child’s early speech and language development with your physician as soon as you suspect a problem.

Some developmental norms may help to supply clues:

  • Birth – 12 Months:

It is very important that children this age are beginning to use their voices to relate to their environment. Two early stages of speech development are cooing and babbling. Around 9 months of age, babies begin to string sounds together, begin incorporating the different tones of speech and start using commonly used words like “mama” and “dada.”

Before the year mark, babies also should be conscious of the sound and begin becoming familiar with names of common objects. If your baby watches attentively but does not react to sound, he or she might be showing signs of hearing loss or other developmental deficits.

  • 12 – 15 Months

Children this age should be generating an array of sounds in their babbling, such as p, m, b, d, or n sounds. They will begin imitating sound and words spoken by family members, and often will spontaneously say one or more words. Nouns will commonly come first, and children should understand simple single-step directions, such as “Please give me the ball,” at this point.

  • 18 – 24 Months

Although this changes from child to child, most toddlers can say roughly 20 words by the age of 18 months, and more than 50 words by age two. At this latter age, children are beginning to combine words to make simple sentences such as “give ball” or “stop, Daddy.” Children in this age group are usually able to identify common objects; point to the eyes, ears, or nose; and follow two-step commands.

  • 2 – 3 Years

During this time, parents can see major improvements in speech. Vocabulary should expand, and he or she should regularly be combining three or more words to generate sentences. His or her ability to comprehend should also increase; by the age of three, a child should begin to understand phrases such as “put it on the table” or “sit on the couch.” Your child should also begin recognizing colors and understanding descriptive concepts such as “small versus large.”

What are the Differences between Speech and Language?

The terms speech and language are commonly confused, but there are clear differences between the two that should be noted:

  • Speech is the verbal expression of language, which includes articulation – the way sounds and words are formed.
  • Language is much broader, and refers to the entire system of expressing and receiving information in a way that is significant. Language means understanding and being understood through verbal, nonverbal, and written communication.

Although problems in speech and language are different subjects, they often overlap. For example, a child with a language problem might be able to pronounce words properly, yet be unable to put groups of words together. Another child may have speech that is difficult to understand, but be able to use words and phrases easily. Yet another toddler might excel at speech but have difficulty following directions.

If the speech is more difficult to understand than expected at his or her age, this should be noted. Parents and caregivers should be able to understand about half of a child’s speech at the age of two, and about three-quarters of it by the age of three. By the age of four, a toddler should be regularly understood, even by people who aren’t familiar with the child.

How can Speech-Language Pathologists Help?

If either you or your doctor suspects that your child may have a problem, seeking early evaluation by a speech-language pathologist is critical. If there turns out not to be a problem, an evaluation can help to put your mind at ease.

When evaluating your child, a speech-language pathologist will look at his or her speech and language skills compared to the overall development. Along with observing your child, the pathologist will perform standardized tests and look for milestones in speech and language development.

The speech-language pathologist will also assess:

  • The amount your child understands (receptive language)
  • The amount your child can say (expressive language)
  • Whether or not your child is communicating in other ways, such as with pointing, head shaking or gesturing
  • Sound development and speech clarity
  • Oral-motor status (how a child’s mouth, tongue, and palate work together to perform speech, to eat, and to swallow)

If the speech-language pathologist determines that your child is in need of speech therapy, your involvement in the process is extremely important. You should sit in on therapy sessions and begin participating in the process. The speech therapist will explain how you can work with a child outside of scheduled therapy to improve speech and language skills.

Unusual speech and language development are not something you have to . Here at Psycho-Educational Associates, we have experienced, caring professionals standing by ready to provide you with speech, language, and a variety of other services. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!