Warning Signs of a Language Developmental Delay in Babies

Language development could be different from one child to another although the general pattern of which would be somewhat similar between babies in similar age groups. While most delays pertaining to language development may not hinder the child’s overall development or the catch up development in later years, there are instances in which language delay may be the only warning sign that manifest in relation to a more sinister language development disorder or in relation to an overall developmental disorder. Thus, knowing how to recognize the early warning signs of language developmental delay would enable parents and caregivers to seek professional help and intervene at the correct time to prevent any hindrance to the future development of the baby.

During the first year

During the first six months of age (4 to 6 months) the most notable language developmental delay would be a failure on the part of the baby to imitate the sounds made by the parents. By six months of age, a failure to laugh or squeal could also be taken as a language developmental delay. At the same time, if the baby is not using sounds to gain attention by the age 8 to 9 months and has not started babbling by the age of 9 months, the child may be undergoing a developmental delay. In addition, a baby who does not respond to her name by the age of 10 months or is not expressing happiness or being upset by the age of 9 to 10 months should also need professional evaluation with regard to his or her language development.

Between one year to 1 ½ years

At 12 months of age, a baby should be able to gesture by waving or shaking his or her head. At the same time, a baby of 12 months should also use at least couple of consonants. In addition, a baby of this age should be able to communicate something when he or she requires help through using some mode of communication. When these skills are absent, the baby may be undergoing a language development delay. Similarly, by 15 months, if the baby doesn’t understand and respond to words such as ‘bye-bye’ and ‘no’, is not using at least six different gestures or else is not saying at least 1 to 3 words, there might be a significant language delay.

Between 1 ½ years to two years

By 18 months, the baby should say about six to ten words while by 18 to 20 months the baby should point out interesting objects, events or things. By 20 months, the baby should use at least six consonant sounds while by 21 months the baby should be able to respond to simple directions. In addition, a baby of 21 months should pretend and play while by 24 months, the baby should be able to join at least two words together. At the same time, these babies should also be able to imitate actions or words of others and should point to body parts when asked. In the absence of these skills, a developmental delay probably has ensued.

After 2 years

As the baby ages, if the baby’s language cannot be understood by anyone in the family by the age of 30 months or else the baby’s language does not consist of simple sentences, questions or be understood by strangers, there might be a significant problem that needs attention.

Thus, there are many warning signs that can be used to detect a delay in language development of a baby. However, the presence of these delays does not itself indicate a disorder or a permanent language deficiency but rather should be used as an opportunity to intervene early and prevent any delays of same sort in the future.