Joanne Gallacher
By Joanne Gallacher

Speech Development

Baby Speech development

Baby speech developmentWe spoke to Speech and Language therapist Lisa Haughton about children’s communication skills. Within this interview we asked Lisa, who has 11 years experience of working within the NHS, How we can help our tots speech develop and Whether dummies and watching television can hinder development.

When would you expect to hear a baby start to make babbling noises?

You can communicate with a baby from day one. Babies love to see facial expressions and babbling starts very early.

How can we help them communicate?

Talk nonsense and tell them what you’re doing. They like to hear the pattern of languages.

When would you expect to hear first words?

As a general rule around 12 months you might start to see very early words like Mummy, Daddy. They may point to a drink and say “ahh ahh”. The speech sounds are the icing on the cake really. By two children begin to put little words together. Understanding language is far more important than expressive language so if you feel your child can understand you then that is good.

What should you do if you suspect a problem with your child’s communication?

Don’t sit at home worrying, get a referral.

Can television be detrimental to speech development?

Television has its place as long as it’s not constantly on. The problem is if you have constant noise children can de-tune. So switch it on for a specific programme and then switch it off.

Do dummies hinder speech?

They can damage speech development if they’re in constantly. It has its place but as soon as your baby doesn’t need it whip it out. By 12/24 months I would be trying to get it off them.

Lisa Haughton now runs Talking Tots, classes to help your child develop.

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