Child development milestones are the significant ‘events in development’ that when delayed may cause internal doubt and panic to a parent. Sometimes, it could be a false alarm. The child is just a late bloomer. But as a parent some signs have to be noticed, these could help us prevent or in some cases detect an underlying cause before it becomes permanent.
Language delay is when a child is not able to grasp language he may not be able to understand (receptive language) or even express himself (expressive language). As is relevant to his age. This could be due to many causes:
- Television: A child before the age of 2 should not watch television. And after the age of two, one or two hours of programming a day is more than enough. Television impairs their intellectual performance. That is, it makes their brain slower and also less smart.
- Psychosocial Interactions: Language is known to be innate but for it to be activated you need to be around it. Interaction with an infant, toddler, child is more important than you can ever realize. Without this basic love and attention, the child may not develop proper cognitive skills.
- Cerebral palsy: A movement disorder caused by brain damage.
- Hearing Loss
- Autism or Down syndrome: Developmental Disorders.
- Stress during pregnancy: Not just for language delay but many negative impacts can be caused to a baby due to a stressful pregnancy.
- Mental Retardation: This is a generalized neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by significantly impaired intellectual and adaptive functioning.
It could be any of the above or nothing, the best thing you can do is take your child to a speech pathologist or GP or pediatrician or a psychologist. They are all here to help and guide.
Language delay is preventable but not curable
There are a couple of things a parent can do to encourage speech development since the start:
- From infancy: Talk to your baby, interact, communicate with voice, without the voice, gestures – anything.
- Read to your child: Kids love bright colors and drawings. Pick a book that interests them and read to them. You can move on to nursery rhymes with a rhythmic appeal. As nursery rhymes are a great way into learning early phonics skills (the ability to hear, identify and manipulate letter sounds).
- Constant learning: To help your child. You can just keep talking about your day, describing what you are doing like – a cooking tutorial- naming everything and also while doing this if your child replies or interacts back, encourage him and accept him even if he’s not making much sense.