In this Ask an Expert, we ask Sydney Bassard, Speech & Language Pathologist, and the instructor for our speech classes, when a parent should be concerned about their child’s speech and language development.

Question: When should I be worried about speech/language development? 
Sydney’s Answer: The biggest question I get asked is, “When should I be worried about my child’s speech and language development?”   

First, if you have any concerns about your children’s milestone development in general,  I recommend reaching out to a speech-language pathologist or your pediatrician. It is important to remember that every child develops and grows at different rates and times. And, there are many factors that play into your child’s development. 

When it comes to speech, however, there are specific speech and language milestones to watch for in your child.  Again, since every child is different, it is essential to try and not be alarmed if your child hasn’t mastered every milestone for their specific age group. The milestones to look for by age, are: 

0-3 months: Makes cooing sounds, different cries for different needs, smiles when you appear, quiet or smile when spoken to, begins to recognize your voice

4-6 months: Coos and babbles, giggles and laughs, makes sounds when happy or upset, moves eyes in the direction of sounds, responds to changes in tone of voice, notices that toys make sounds, pays attention to music, watches speaker’s face when spoken to

6 months: Responds to sounds by making sounds, strings vowels together when babbling, turn-taking with adults, responds to name, makes sounds to show joy and displeasure, begins to say consonant sounds

7-12 months: Babbles long strings of sounds, uses sounds and gestures to get and keep attention, points to objects and shows them to others, uses gestures like waving bye, imitates different speech sounds

If your child is taking longer than expected to develop specific skills, there could be a delay, but try not to panic. Talk to your pediatrician and express your concerns, or reach out to a speech-language pathologist for a consultation to discuss your child’s development.

Wondering what you can do to help support your child’s speech and language development from Day 1? Watch our class, Encouraging Speech & Language From Birth (0-12 Months), where Sydney gives you professional tips for how you can encourage speech, language, and communication right from the start.