Better Hearing & Speech Month

By Jasmine Urquhart

May is Better Hearing & Speech Month!

The month of May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! To celebrate, we’ll feature some informational articles to help you identify whether your child’s speech and language skills are on track. To kick off this month, here are some norms for when children should develop speech and language skills, from birth up through age 5.

We know that early intervention is most effective in speech and language intervention, so the sooner you can identify needs, the better. Just like with many other developmental benchmarks (e.g., motor, cognitive), there is a wide range of what’s considered “normal.” All children develop at their own pace. This means that if your child is missing one or two skills among many that are expected for his/her age, this may not be a reason for concern. When a child is not keeping pace with their peers and deviating from them in more substantial ways, this is more concerning. If you notice that your child lags behind in many skills or is several stages behind his or her age, a consultation with your pediatrician and then a licensed speech-language pathologist may be appropriate. Referencing your child’s skills compared to these norms can give you a sense of how your child’s speech and language skills are progressing, but this is not intended to take the place of a consultation with a skilled professional.

When thinking about communication developmental norms, it’s a lot like going on a road trip. It’s often times more about the journey than the destination. Keep this in mind when reviewing these norms and considering your little one. It’s most important that a child progresses through these stages in this order. Sometimes persistence of an immature pattern may no longer be appropriate as a child gets older. Consider the child’s skills as a whole and try to avoid getting too focused on one particular skill. Think about the constellation of skills your child presents with. Are they generally consistent with their age? This is a good place to start…later in the month we’ll talk about some “red flags” to watch out for… stay tuned.