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COVID-19 Pandemic

A cause behind Speech Delay in Your Child?

As kids hit toddler-hood, making sure they’re on track with major development milestones such as talking can sometimes be difficult to judge.

In today’s scenario, most of the families are single where husband and wife both are working and not having sufficient time to spend with child. Before pandemic, most of the working parents try to give their best by admitting them in quality daycare or pre-schools.

But in last two years, when kids hit toddler-hood during a pandemic and they’ve likely been kept out of group childcare environments, had way more TV time (one way) than you would otherwise have liked, and spent a lot of time being spoken to by masked adults – it affect their major development – physically, socially and specially linguistically.

Learn how to spot a speech delay in your child and what you can do at home to help.

Even before COVID hit, experts had noticed a rise in problems among young children in the world, with prevalence of Speech-Sound Disorders (SSD) such as stuttering, apraxia, lack of social communication and other impairments affecting around nine percent of kids. Roughly five to eight percent of preschoolers experience language delays that continue throughout their school years and into adulthood, while 15-20 percent of two-year-olds are delayed in their expressive language development.

“Red flags to watch out for at any time in those up to four years old include any loss of speech or babbling, never gesturing or imitating, not appearing to understand speech or to hear very well and never developing words beyond repeating what others say,” says experts.

If you suspect a problem, the earlier a child receives the help he or she needs, the better the outcome.

Early intervention also reduces behavioral problems such as anxiety of low self-esteem that may occur due to a speech or language issue. As a starting point, get a hearing test done if child is not responding normally since hearing disorder could be the root of the problem. If in doubt, consult a speech-language therapist.

Tools you may use

There’s lots you can do to give your child’s speech and language therapy:

  • Keep the child with its peers to develop and understand communication skill and socialize with others.

  • If Play schools / Daycare are open, admit your child for 2-3 hours.

  • Due to pandemic, if physically schools / daycare are not possible, in place of just engaging child with screen time, it will be better, if two way communication may be possible through one -2-one or online classes.

  • Spend quality time with your child on daily basis.

  • Talk while doing things and going places.

  • Expand on words. For example, if your child says “car,” you respond by saying, “You’re right! That is a big red car”.

  • Make time to read to your child every day. Try to find books with large pictures and one or two words or a simple phrase or sentence on each page. Name and describe the pictures on each page.

  • Have your child point to pictures that you name.

  • Look at family pictures and have your child explain what is happening.

  • Talk about spatial relationships (first, middle and last; right and left) and opposites (up and down; big and little).

  • Expand on social communication and storytelling skills by “acting out” typical scenarios with a dollhouse and its props.

  • Follow your child’s directions as she or he explains how to do something.

  • Build on your child’s vocabulary. Provide definitions for new words, and use them in context.

  • Ask “wh” questions (who, what, when, where, or why) when reading a book or watching television and monitor his or her response.


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