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Speech Delay: Tips to Encourage Your Child to Talk

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 in Kids' Health

Speech Delay in Children

Speech delay is one the most common types of developmental delays in children. In fact, one out of five children will learn to talk or use words later than other children their age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Keep in mind there’s a wide range in what is considered normal speech development,” Debra Barra-Stevens, M.D., a Mills-Peninsula pediatrician, says. “Many kids are late bloomers but still end up with excellent speaking and communication skills.”

“If you are concerned that your child’s speech may be delayed, talk to a doctor,” she says. “If there is a speech delay, it’s important to determine the reason so your child can get the help he needs as soon as possible.”

Dr. Barra-Stevens offers these tips to help encourage your child to talk.

  • Speak to your child often. Point out things like trees and plants at the park or different fruits and vegetables at the grocery store.
  • Be patient. Don’t rush in with the right word before your little one has a chance to try and say something.
  • Avoid trying to make your child speak when he or she doesn’t want to talk.
  • Encourage speech. Ask questions like: “I know you want that. What is it?”
  • Read to your child regularly, using intonation and adding gestures, so he or she hears a wide range of ways words and speech are used. Singing and saying rhymes are also good stimulation.

Mills-Peninsula offers comprehensive services to give children the best start in life, including specialized services to address speech delay or language issues. To learn more, call (650) 696-4926 or visit the Children’s Services page on our website.