Speech Disorder in Children

Talking and communicating are an indispensable action for human beings.  The person uses verbal or nonverbal communication skills to relate to society.  While this is valid for a 70-year-old, it is also valid for a 5-year-old child.  When a small child is hungry, thirsty, wants to play, or wants to relate to his family, he tries to communicate with the people around him.  It can be said that this situation is at the level of necessity for the child to continue his life.

Talking about the developmental stages of babies is one of the most important steps in society.  This is noticeable if a baby’s speech is delayed.  Most people who see this situation around start to comment.  If the child does not speak, words such as “A boy is a child, he speaks late”, “His older brother spoke late anyway”, “It will open up in time, don’t worry” starts to be heard around.  Although there may be some truth in these words, it is useful to be careful with a child who does not speak.  Because there may be many reasons why the child does not speak, and some of these reasons may have a serious impact on the child’s life.

Now let’s touch on the question of what age we should be careful about what we notice in a child.  For example, if our child has not started to use words such as ‘mom, dad’, the question of how many months should we wait is important.

 3-4 months old baby still not purring

 6-month-old baby is not yet able to produce letters such as ‘b, m’

 If the 12-month-old baby does not combine 2 letters such as ‘ba-ba’, if he cannot babbling

 If, at 18 months of age, he does not use words such as ‘daddy, mama, mother, grandfather’ in accordance with the context.

 2-year-old child does not have at least 20-30 words

 If the 2.5-year-old child does not combine two words and form a sentence such as “mom come, dad go”

 If most of the 3-year-old’s speech is not understood by his parents

 Doesn’t form four-five-word sentences at age 4

In addition to these, if there is a regression in speech at any age or if the child does not have appropriate gestures and facial expressions, there may be a problem in your child.

Speech problems have a variety of causes.  Hearing problems, excessive screen exposure (phone, tablet, television, computer), mental retardation, autism can be counted among these reasons.  However, if your child’s speech is retarded, we cannot say that he definitely has a disorder.  Some children’s speech may start late and then go on with their lives without any problems.  But even if your child is like this, he should definitely be evaluated by a specialist.  Even if your child does not have any problems, it would be better to hear from the specialist.

When we look at the reasons we have mentioned, it is noticed that the child’s not speaking shows us that he may have other problems.  For this reason, an abnormality you notice about your child’s speech should make you think, and if the speech skills that are appropriate for the ages we mentioned above have not yet developed, do not be late to take your child to a specialist who knows this job.

Dr.Umit Çicek
Child Psychiatrist, Istanbul/ Turkey