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My child isn’t speaking yet, should I wait it out or take action?

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

According to guidelines by the American Speech & Hearing Association, your child’s speech and language development depends on:

  • Her natural ability to learn language (gene & family history).

  • Other skills that he is learning at the same time.

  • How much talking she hears during the day.

  • How people respond to what he says or does.

These combined factors contribute to the variation children demonstrate in their language skills.

As a parent, when you have concerns about your child’s language development, chances are you may be uncertain about what is within the normal range and may have questions about whether to take action or not. If you are concerned about your child’s language development and need to speak to a professional, you can call (234-8034162783) or drop us a line here.

We will go on to look at signs that will guide you to better understand how your child’s language should develop, when your child may be experiencing a late bloom or possibly delayed in their language development.


Language development and use in children is beyond using words to express themselves. Language development has both receptive and expressive domains.

Receptive Language refers to your child’s understanding of spoken words. Children first develop an understanding of language before they begin to use words to express themselves. Is your child able to point at things when you name them, can your child follow simple directions (shut the door, get your bag, put the cup on the table)? If your child does demonstrate understanding of language as appropriate for their age but, has not started using words, there is a good chance they are experiencing delays and may be able to catch up with some environmental enrichment. This is particularly true for children within the first 2 years. To better ascertain this, do a quick check of the number of items your child will be able to point to or get when you name them without pointing.

Expressive Language on the other hand is what most parents are familiar with and tend to notice earlier on if there happens to be a delay. This is the number of words your child currently uses and how many new words your child adds to their word bank on a weekly basis. Your child should add new words with each week/month that passes. How much words you speak to your child and your responsiveness to their attempts at using new words is a critical factor here. If your child is not adding any new words or appears to be losing acquired words within the first 2 years, you may want to speak to your pediatrician or schedule a developmental assessment for your child.

Use of Gestures is usually a natural way for children who are not yet using words to communicate to augment their language and drive meaning. Children may point, nod their head to affirm or pull an adult to show an item of interest they are trying to retrieve. If your child is able to understand when you speak, follow directions and, uses gestures as a non-verbal means to communicate, there is a greater possibility that they are experiencing delays and this can be resolved with more engagement and stimulation.


As a parent of a child under 3 years of age, it is necessary to seek professional help and not wait it out if your child is demonstrating delays in the following areas:

  • When your child is not using any word or showing an understanding when spoken to by the age of 18 to 24 months.

  • Your child’s language is not progressing rather, there seems to be a regression (loss of words previously gained)

  • If your child is not pointing at things to show you or looking at things when you point to show him/her

  • Your child has difficulties looking at your face (eye contact) and does not seem to focus on you when you are very close

  • Your child is not responding to his/her name when called

  • If your child prefers to play alone and seems not to be interested in other children

These are few pointers for concern when your child checks up to 4 of the red flags in addition to delays in communication. It is imperative you have your child seen by a pediatrician or contact us to discuss your concerns. It is always best to check with a qualified professional who can ascertain and help you with resources, than wait it through. Checking with a professional does not mean your child may eventually get a diagnosis of a disorder, if it is a delay, getting guidance on what to do helps your child overcome the delay in the shortest possible time.

Are you still concerned about your child speech delay? Schedule an appointment to speak with a child development expert now.

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