Many parents often ask the question “what’s normal?” when it comes to their child’s speech and language development.

Truth be told, determining whether your child is just a late bloomer or needs professional help isn’t always easy. All children progress at different rates and there is a wide-range of what’s considered “normal.”

However, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), here are some common signs for children between the ages of 18 - 30 months that may put him/her at risk for a speech or language problem:

Signs of Speech Delay

Understanding Language:

Many children are able to understand basic commands and language prior to using actual words. If your child seems to be receptive to language, pointing to objectives by name, for example, or following simple instructions, he/she is more likely to catch up with their peers. If you think they’re not able to grasp what others are saying, there is a chance that their comprehension is behind. Given that children must understand language before they can use it, this would be likely to lead to

Using Gestures:

Even if your child isn’t speaking yet, actively using gestures is a good sign he/she is simply a late bloomer. Gestures can include waving “hi,” pointing to food or an item they want, or raising their arms so you will pick them up. If your child is not using gestures, there’s a higher likelihood there could be a problem..

Learning New Words:

Between this age range, children should be progressing in their language development by regularly using new words. They should also be starting to string words together to make simple phrases or ask questions. Even if your child is slower to talk than his/her peers, using gestures is a good sign they’re on the right path. However, if you don’t hear new words often, this may be a sign of a speech or language delay.

What Can Be Done?

Research in speech and language disorders have demonstrated that the earlier the intervention, the better the outcomes. If you think you’re child may be struggling, consider having him/her seen by Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP).

An SLP is best equipped to evaluate your child, discuss any questions or concerns you may have, and provide professional guidance on whether or not your child should be enrolled in an early intervention program. Working with an SLP may be the most efficient way to help your child communicate clearly and confidently, which can have a positive effect on their social, academic, and emotional development.