My year-old baby doesn't talk much, should I be concerned?

Q: My year-old baby isn't talking much. Should I be worried?

A: By 12 months, many children can say a few basic words -- like "more," "bye-bye" and the ever-popular "no" -- but if your child is developing typically in other areas and you still aren't hearing any words, this can still be normal. Some babies simply start talking earlier than others. Over the next few months, however, your toddler should start using words and be able to speak them more clearly. By 15 months, most children know between 5 and 15 words. If your child is not beginning to speak at that point, bring it up with the pediatrician. Since speech and hearing are so closely related, your doctor might want to test your child's hearing. He may also ask several questions, including:

• Does your child point and gesture to people and objects?• Do you feel that your child understands you when you talk to him?• Is your child social with other children and certain adults?

If there are concerns, your doctor may suggest that your child be assessed by a speech therapist, since many developmental delays caught at this early stage can be easily corrected (and the earlier you seek treatment, the better). In most cases, early therapy is all a child needs to catch up to his peers. These services are usually covered by state early intervention programs.

Copright 2009 Meredith Corporation

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