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Not every child will say their first word early. Typically, between 10 and 14 months of age, children will start experimenting with sounds and trying to reproduce the words they hear. Naturally, at this age, children are unlikely to speak in full sentences. They will utter simple words, and more often than not uncomplete words, such as “da-da” for daddy, for example. From there on, your baby will grow confidence and practice sounds until they can learn to say more words.
For some children, this could happen differently. While this may not be obvious when your kid is 1 or 2-year-old, you may start noticing a speech disorder in later years. Perhaps, they struggle to reproduce specific sounds, and they may feel self-conscious as a result. For some children, speech disorders could be a source of shame and discomfort, which can convince them that they do not need to speak. However, it is important to understand that approximately 5% of children, between the ages of 3 and 17, have a speech disorder.
For both parents and children, speech disorders can be challenging. However, there are many ways in which parents can help their kids become more confident about speaking.
Make it fun
Ultimately, if speaking feels like homework, kids are unlikely to want to improve their skills. The desire is to encourage children by showing them that they can have fun while speaking. As tempting as it might be to show them the power of the spoken word through mesmerizing speeches, it’s best to focus on things that can generate immediate, true joy.
You don’t need to look far as well, Smart gadgets in your living room, such as a voice-activated assistant that can turn the TV on for them, can be a game-changer. You’ll soon hear your child speaking to Google or Alexa and practicing their lines to get things done!
Don’t let them work alone
It can be tricky to learn how to speak, especially when your child has no guidance. After all, they did try to copy the sounds around them, grounding up, but a speech disorder can be the result of a misshapen inner mouth, for example. This would mean that the way your child tried to learn to speak did not work. But perhaps an expert speech therapist, such as https://www.metroehs.com/, can guide them to develop the right sounds and sensations in their mouth. Ultimately, why work alone when you can find a teacher to help you?
Cut them some slack
As desperate as you are to hear your child speak freely and confidently, they probably feel the same. Yet, putting pressure on your kid is only going to backfire. Their speech disorder could worsen under pressure.
Learning to correct a speech disorder takes time and effort. It is a long and winding road, and it is certainly one that requires both patience and understanding. As such, it is important to give your child other paths to express themself, such as drawing or writing, rather than force them to speak when they are already exhausted and stressed out.
What will your child’s first word be when they recover from their speech disorder? There’s no saying, but one thing is for sure, they will be just as glad to say it as you will be to hear it. Remember, overcoming challenges is teamwork, so make sure to be there for them along the way.