Help Him Talk
Babies’ first year is a magical time. They’re not only starting to assert their independence by walking on their own, but are also learning to form words to express their needs and feelings. Indeed, a baby’s first word is big cause for a celebration!
Just as there are certain building blocks for motor development before a child can start walking, there are also precursors to speech and language development that need to be established before a child can speak. During a child’s first year, he or she will learn to make eye contact, take turns, use facial and mouth muscles to produce sounds, imitate intonation patterns, and babble. All these skills provide the needed foundation for a child to produce his or her first word at around 12 months old.
There are children who learn to form and speak words faster than others, some as early as 13 months. This does not mean, however, that parents of children who seem to take more time learning how to speak should start worrying. The opinion of an Early Intervention Specialist must only be sought if, by the time a child reaches 18 to 24 months, he or she hasn’t started assimilating words yet.
Children may also show signs of frustration when they cannot express their needs and feelings in a way you could understand. They will cope by using gestures instead. As parents, you should be able to bridge this gap and view the world from your child’s perspective in order to understand the messages he or she is trying to convey.
Remember that in communication development, comprehension precedes expression. In other words, children are able to understand much more than they can express. Their minds are busy making sense of the world and the spoken language around them. Keep providing your children a good language model and an environment filled with language-rich experiences so that their verbal communication skills will develop in due time.