• October 14, 2019

MEDICAL MATTERS: Look who’s talking! - Odessa American: Medical Matters

e-Edition Subscribe

MEDICAL MATTERS: Look who’s talking!

Dr. Kevin Benson is a Board Certified Pediatrician for Medical Center Hospital’s Family Health Clinic and focuses on the complete spectrum of health and wellness for infants and children.

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2018 1:15 am

One of the reasons pediatricians have you bring your babies and children in so many times during their first few years of life is to monitor their development. And the area that is both the easiest to recognize, and to miss, is speech development.

Babies should enter into the world of verbal communication early in life. They usually start life with a loud cry and things proceed from there. They respond to our voices when they are infants, even if they do not really understand what we say. Infants will start to coo in the first few months of life. At six months, they usually have a variety of sounds, especially if they get a reaction from their parents. It’s not unusual to hear a scream to get our attention. (My daughter thought a fake cough was funny.)

At nine months, you often hear some basic consonants such as “dada” and/or “mama”. However, this can be very meaningless. (Sorry “Dada”.) At a year, most children will have a meaningful dada and mama sound, as well as one other word. Unfortunately, it is often the dog’s name! Children’s receptive language usually precedes their expressive language, so they understand more than they can say back.

Speech often plateaus a bit. Then by 18 months, most children have an explosion of meaningful language. At a year and a half, most toddlers will babble out some form of about 10 to 15 words, although probably only family members will recognize their meaning.

Two-year-olds will have many words, and start to put them into two-word sentences. They will be about 50 percent understandable to strangers at that age. Three-year-olds about 75 percent understandable and 4-year-olds, you guessed it, should be 100 percent understandable to strangers. Just in time for school!

Now there is a large variety of speeds in which language develops, some children are just naturally more verbal (and no, not just the girls). It is important to recognize language issues early in life. There is a certain “developmental window” in which speech is easier to develop. (Ask anyone who has tried to learn a foreign language as an adult.) I have witnessed parents who have ignored speech issues early on, only to try and make up for that lost time in speech therapy later. Be proactive and keep your routine physical appointments, bringing up speech concerns as soon as they come to mind.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Rain Shower
73°
Humidity: 62%
Winds: SSW at 11mph
Feels Like: 73°

Your Extended Forecast

Tomorrow

weather
High 78°/Low 64°
Chance of showers. Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the mid 60s.

tuesday

weather
High 82°/Low 48°
More clouds than sun. Highs in the low 80s and lows in the upper 40s.

wednesday

weather
High 73°/Low 49°
Sunshine. Highs in the low 70s and lows in the upper 40s.
Online Features

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7314 to sign up today.