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"How can I tell if my baby has speech problems?"


Should I give her time to grow out of her habits? How will I know if she has a speech impediment?


I am not sure how old your infant is, but my suspicion is that it is probably much to early to know if she has or will have a speech impediment. What I can do is lay out for you what normal speech development in an infant should be like, and you can use this to compare with your child's behavior. Don't forget that speech and hearing go together, so a child with abnormal hearing may have abnormal speech development also.

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Talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns. Babies who are only a few months old will begin to coo and babble. These are the first signs of speech development. Later in the first year, usually around 9 months or so, the baby will begin to put sounds together and this is when parents often hear the "first word" - usually "mama" or "dada" -- although the infant is not using these sounds meaningfully at this point. Before 12 months, the infant should begin to recognize the names of some objects when they are spoken by others. Somewhere around or after 12 months is where the first real words begin to be spoken, although usually there are only 1 or 2 at first, and they will not be intelligible to people who are not the primary caregivers.

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