Children typically do not master all items in a category until they reach the upper age in each age range. Just because your child has not accomplished one skill within an age range does not mean your child has a disorder. However, if you have answered no to the majority of items in an age range, seek the advice of an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist.
Hearing and Understanding
- Talk naturally to your child and use a lot of different words. Talk about what your child is doing and what your child sees.
- Take time to listen to your child. Respond to what is said so your child knows you have been listening.
- Read to your child often and start early.
- Accept some speech mistakes as your child develops. Don’t ask your child to slow down or repeat.
- Have your child’s hearing tested if you find you have to repeat a lot or have to talk loudly to get your child’s attention.
- Seek professional help from an ASHA-certified audiologist or ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist if you’re concerned about your child’s communication development. Don’t wait to get help for your child if you suspect a problem. You and your family members know more about your child than anyone else.
- Early identification and treatment of hearing, speech, and language disorders can prevent problems with behavior, learning, reading, and social interactions.
- If your child is being raised in a bilingual home, use vocabulary from both languages in everyday interactions.
- Refer to Beyond Baby Talk by Apel and Masterson and Talking on the Go by Dougherty and Paul for more communication tips to stimulate good speech and language skills.
Where to get help
If you think your child may have a speech, language, or hearing problem, you can contact a certified professional:
Audiologists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, identification, and non-medical treatment of individuals with hearing loss and balance disorders.
Speech-language pathologists help people develop their communication abilities as well as treat speech, language, swallowing, and voice disorders. Their services include prevention, identification, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Speech-language pathologists and audiologists who are certified by ASHA have completed their master’s or doctoral degree and earned ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC).
Speech-language pathologists and audiologists provide professional services in many different types of facilities such as:
- public and private schools
- rehabilitation centers
- nursing care facilities
- community clinics
- colleges and universities
- private practices
- state and local health departments
- state and federal government agencies