Friday, January 25, 2013

Did I hear You Say "Mama"?

I was getting a bit worried that my Natnat's speech is a little bit delayed. I'm sure her hearing and understanding is good but how come she's not talking (fluently) yet?

I asked her godmother, a Speech Therapist, to confirm my doubts. I told her what my baby can and can not say (and do, as gestures are also part of speech). She just said that some kids' language is not very developed at her age. Just give my baby time and don't pressure myself too much (and stop comparing my kid to others, I guess).

The next day my baby was saying "Mama". This time with meaning. Thank God.  I remembered my friend's greatest frustration was not being able to hear her son (with Autism) call her "mama". *By the way, all is good now. Her son is able to speak and even calls me on the phone sometimes to tell me all about how his school went. 

According to American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a child between one to two years of age can:

  • Point to a few body parts when asked.
  • Follow simple commands and understands simple questions ("Roll the ball," "Kiss the baby," "Where's your shoe?").
  • Listen to simple stories, songs, and rhymes.
  • Point to pictures in a book when named.
  • Say more words every month.
  • Use some one- or two- word questions ("Where kitty?" "Go bye-bye?" "What's that?").
  • Put two words together ("more cookie," "no juice," "mommy book").
  • Use many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words.
My 16 month old Natnat can do all of those things listed above except, putting 2 words together and asking questions. So, technically, there's nothing to worry. Maybe I'm just excited to have someone to talk to? So here are some suggested things to do I found on Baby Center

  • Talk. Research shows that parents who talk to their baby play a critical role in their child's language development. You don't need to chatter nonstop, but speak to your child whenever you're together. Describe what you're doing, point things out, ask questions, sing songs. (Although some baby talk is okay, resist the temptation to coo and babble. Your child will learn to speak well by listening to you speak well
Back when I was still working with special kids, I always include, as suggested by my Speech therapist colleagues, Echo Talk, Info Talk and Expansion. If I remember it right, Echo Talk is like naming the objects or actions the little one is pointing to or what you think she wants to say. If the Little one is pointing to a ball, you say ball. Expansion is like being a broken record, repeating (and correctly saying) the words or maybe just syllables the little one is saying.When the little one says "ba" then you say "ball", "balloon", etc. Info Talk is adding words to syllables/words the little one is already saying. When the kid says "ba", you say "ba for ball; the ball is red; the ball is rolling." *These informations are out of my "mommy brain" and the terminologies might not be correct with their corresponding descriptions. But I'm sure the processes are helpful in developing language skills of kids.

  • Read. Reading to your child is a great way to expose him to new vocabulary, the way sentences are put together, and how stories flow. But don't just read the words – ask your child to find things in the illustrations or tell you what happened to the characters.
For some (odd) reason, our little Natnat would imitate at once or learn words easily from books that her daddy reads to her. I guess the animated voice keeps the little one really interested. Her daddy makes reading so much fun.

  • Listen. When your child talks to you, be a good listener – look at her and be responsive. She's more likely to speak up when she knows you're interested in what she's saying.
We have to make extra time for this. Sometimes I need to get things done around the house that I forget or delay listening to my child.

I should be really concerned and should see a specialist if at her age she: 
But clearly, there's no need to worry.

Hey, maybe the little one is already talking --- in a different language that I don't understand. Living in a multi-lingual environment might be confusing her (or me).

I guess that's it for now. Researching too much is taking so much of my time that should be spent on actually applying what I learn from all those "Google-ing". 

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