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If you suspect that your child’s communication skills are not consistent with their peers, address these concerns with your pediatrician and ask for a referral for a Speech and Language evaluation by a certified Speech and Language Pathologist.  Early intervention is the key to establishing competent communication skills, sound social-emotional development, and in establishing future learning capability.  Here are some key warning signs to look for:

Birth to Six Months

·         Lack of response to sound

·         Lack of interest in communication

·         Feeding problems

·         Doesn’t localize to sound

Six to Twelve Months

·         Groping or awkward movements when attempting to make or imitate sounds

·         Limited sound production, child doesn’t attempt to imitate speech

·         Feeding, chewing and/or swallowing difficulties

·         Doesn’t respond to smiles and verbal interaction

Twelve to Twenty-Four Months

·         Has difficulty understanding simple words or directions

·         Cannot answer simple yes/no questions

·         Cannot name simple objects/actions

·         Limited vocabulary

·         Poor eye contact

·         Limited social interaction

·         Difficulty sitting for listening activities or stories

·         Grunting/gesturing as main form of communication

·         Groping or awkward movements when attempting to make or imitate sounds

Three to Four Year Olds

·         Limited Vocabulary

·         Communicating with 1-3 words or phrases instead of using sentences

·         Increased frustration when not understood

·         Unclear speech that is not easily understood outside of those that live in the home

·         Not able to follow multi-step directions

·         Unable to answer the “W” questions (who, what, where, when, why)