A common question many parents of speech delayed toddlers have is whether there is any risk to waiting to get them help (or whether they even need to). And it’s often not an explicit question, but more of an assumption on their part. I know this, having had two children with speech delays and having helped many parents with the same situation
What I’ve learned from experience, through years of reviewing research, and from helping many parents is that there are several obvious as well as less obvious harms that your toddler could face. The following three are certainly note worthy.
The most obvious one is your toddler’s temper. I’ve experienced this with my daughter first hand. In our case, she was already past 2 years old, yet only had a few words in her vocabulary (well below the 2 year developmental milestones I speak of at our website). She would try to communicate something she wanted to us, but because we didn’t understand her she had a meltdown. It’s painful to see your toddler cry only because they wanted milk but they couldn’t tell you. I’m glad those days are over for her.
Another harm they can face is delays in their social skills. This could be less obvious if you or your spouse take care of them full time. However, it becomes more obvious if they have day care when you go to work. We started to notice this with our daughter when we would pick her up after school. Some of the other kids her age were running around and communicating with each other (clearly they had several more words than she did). But she was shy and hanging back (she was more engaged at home with us). We though that the speech delay was causing it, and that was solidified when I’ve read research that has proven that delays can impact social skills. Thankfully, now that she’s part that issue, she’s become a chatterbox at daycare and has lots of friends to talk to.
The third impact to your toddler is one we have not encountered yet, as it’s not something we can see until later in life. And even then, it’s hard to say what it is in isolation. But the impact to a toddler’s reading, writing, and language skills. You see, there has been research on these skills on groups of children aged 5 and up, but it divides the groups based on whether their had normal, advanced, or delayed speech as a toddler. And the research is stunning. Toddlers with speech delays that aren’t correctly quickly can have issues with reading, writing, and language later on in life. And that includes kids whose delays disappeared over time on their own.
All of these concerns have made it clear to me – there is no reason to wait to help your toddler develop their language skills as early as possible. In fact, waiting could be detrimental. But to be clear, it’s possible that waiting won’t cause an issue. It will just increase the chance of an issue, but it doesn’t mean an problem is certain (I don’t want to scare you).
Our website discusses other issues to consider, such as early brain development, and the various courses of actions a parent can take to help their toddler. CLICK HERE
Author: wdemusThis author has published 12 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.