Toddler speech development

Toddler speech development

Both my neighbor and I have 18-month-old babies, but her baby speaks more words and enunciates them better than my baby does. My doctor told me not to worry, that my baby doesn’t have a hearing problem and he’s developing normally. Could my neighbor’s baby really be so advanced?

In a word: yes. All children develop quite differently. If your baby can say about six words at his age, if he seems to understand even more than what he can say and if your pediatrician has determined that his hearing and the rest of his development are fine, he’s normal for his age. Your neighbor’s child just may have more words. In fact, 25 percent of children combine words at 18 months of age; the majority do so by the age of 2 years.

One of the ways you can determine whether your baby’s speech is developing normally is through the Denver Developmental Screening Test. This test, used by pediatricians, evaluates your baby’s ability to do certain tasks by comparing his performance with other babies’. With speech, for instance, the test measures such skills as imitating speech sounds, using plurals and following directions. With a bit of background, you might be able to use the test at home, too. Ask your pediatrician about it.

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