Thursday, January 21, 2016

When your child is not talking

“Beta! You are whose son…..?” My most asked question to my son..
“I am Mamma’s son.”
In few mins, if his Dad asks, “Betu! You are whose son….?”
“I am Papa’s son.”

My poor lad! Probably, he gets soo irritated answering the same question so many times in a day! But does he understand how divine it is to listen to his voice, as if every word is a pearl for me, which I want to preserve carefully in a deep corner of my heart.

When a mother gives birth to a baby, the bliss which can be seen on the faces of the parents at that very moment, isn’t it simply impossible to express in words?  Yes! A baby is just a precious gift of God to any couple.

A baby is just a precious gift of God to any couple. Click to tweet

Tweet: A baby is just a precious gift of God to any couple. #parenting

The baby grows amidst the love and cuddling of the loved ones….one day parents would be excited to see his minuscule white teeth, crawling and falling his way upright, gradually his tiny feet start walking one by one step, then run like a drunkard, two tiny hands will start pulling your hair….little fingers start exploring the wonders relentlessly…. But what, if your kid is not speaking even though he is old enough to talk by his age? 

It is the every parent’s core desire to hear their toddler utter his first word. The problem of delayed speech has become quite common these days. It may be because of increasing nuclear family, inter-language marriage, cosmopolitan society, lack of parent’s time etc. I too faced the same problem. My son started talking at the age of around 3.5 yrs. I thought of writing this piece as I was talking to couple of my colleagues and peers, and found out that many of them are facing the same problem. Some of them are upset, some are consulting with speech therapists and some are even getting suggestion of approaching Spastic school…. I am not a specialist, nor an expert, but here is my opinion with my limited experience and knowledge.

What I think, in this kind of situation, inspite of getting too upset about the issue, parents should try to solve the issue with patience. But, at the same time, the issue should not be taken casually too.

Well! Experts believe that babies who talk late are able to catch up sentences and words faster in comparison to others. Many specialists say that late talkers are more intelligent and keen observer than the early talkers. So, nothing to worry much!

My first few recommendations:
  • Don’t pay much attention what other children of his age do. Every child is different.
  • Don’t take to your heart if your parents/ parent-in-law/ kith n kin/ neighbors blame you for not giving enough attention to your child.
  • Before you decide to visit some speech therapist, you should update yourself with some facts like what is believed to be normal and when it is the right time to approach a specialist.

So, what are the major reasons accountable for speech delay?
  • Boys : Boys generally speak late as compared to baby girls.
  • Premature baby: Babies who are premature, may take time not only in talking, but also in all kind of activities like walking, understanding etc.
  • Twins: Twins generally start talking late as compared to other babies.
  • Talkative elder sibling: Toddlers may speak late if the elder sibling is quite talkative.
  • Infection in the ear: If your kid suffered from some kind of ear infection at a very young age, then there may be chances of late talking.
  • Attention focus: If your child does all activities normally, except speaking, may be his attention is getting distracted by other activities.

What is normal and what is abnormal?

Being parents, you will realize first if there is any abnormality in your child.

Normally, most of the kids start speaking few words when they are a year old and word combinations at around 2 years. But, you cannot say that your toddler has some speech problem if he has not started talking till two or three years of age. If your child’s hearing capacity is fine, and can make little gestures and also follow your instructions, then be sure that you won’t have worry much. In these circumstances, as parents, you should devote time to your kid and make him repeat whatever you have said, and pressurize him to speak, for example, don’t give his favourite thing till he ask verbally. The child does not feel necessary to talk if he gets whatever he wants, just by showing gestures.

But, if your child is not responding to you, have thoughtful behavior, blank look, runs round and round and jump continuously for long time, not pointing out anything, then you should approach a pediatrician immediately for guidance.  

What can you do if your baby has not started talking yet?
  • Taking some time out from your schedule for your toddler. Take him to the park, outing, show him different stuff, give reasoning, explain though you may not get any response immediately. But be sure, and you will get the proof that he was understanding, when after one or two years down the line he would refer the same thing in front of you.
  • Spend some money, buy some puzzles, or different kinds of games, play with your kid and make attempts to make him speak.
  • Check properly whether there is any kind of language problem or ear infection that your baby has.
  • Try to develop your toddler’s interest in singing and sing along with him.
  • Allow your child to play with his friends alone, let him mingle with them. That way, he will indirectly build his confidence level.
  • Toy phones are another useful way of encouraging your kid to speak. 
  • Don’t ask many questions while encouraging your baby to talk as the child may get a little irritated and may even stop making an effort altogether.
  • Allow your kids to watch some particular cartoon programs. Later, take him to the shops to buy some merchandise related to that cartoon program. Besides, increase the volume of television while watching Cartoons so that he can listen to the words along with action of the characters. Ofcourse, too much of television always proves to be harmful for your toddler.

Many children experience speech problem in the initial stages, but after a period of time they speak fluently. So, not to worry much, except trying to analyze and understand the reasons behind, and take proper measures.

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