When the child does not speak

When the child does not speak
Source: Pixabay

Taking full possession of the mother tongue is one of the first tasks that our cognitive system carries out: by listening and trying to emit sounds we appropriate what will become the language of our thought. For some children this mechanism is not that simple, there is something that slows down the gears. Thing? Let's ask the speech therapist Anna La Guzza, of the Amamente Center.

1. How we teach children to speak

«The process of learning the mother tongue is understood as the ability to understand and express oneself in an understandable way by formulating nuclear or more complex sentences. This happens gradually between 12 and 36 months, in rare cases later. There is a development window, that is the period in which this learning is possible, which coincides with the first years of life. Our cognitive system is naturally predisposed to language learning, unless it is conditioned by a basic neuropsychological disorder (language disorders, cognitive deficit, developmental syndromes, etc. that can be diagnosed by a neuropsychologist).

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«In this phase of learning it seems that the girls are more precocious in the expression of language. However, the abilities referred to the two sexes will level out over time ".

"The fundamental prerequisite for learning the language itself is continuous and adequate exposure to the mother tongue".

2. The role of the parent

“The parent, just as the child is programmed to learn from external models, is likewise programmed to communicate adequately with the child himself. The tone of the voice, the posture, the choice of words and the structure of the sentences we use to address the child are aimed at learning. There are no particular exercises, but a whole series of tricks which, from conception, can educate the child to recognize sounds, to differentiate them, to recognize words and, therefore, later in time to produce vocalizations and then words and phrases ".

Read also: Stuttering: What to do if your child stutters

3. How language evolves

"In a multicultural society like ours it is good to make a premise:" children exposed to two or more languages ​​generally have six months late in learning the stages of language ".

In general we know that «a child at two years generally pronounce at least 100 words. It is important to build on this data and integrate it with the ability to understand relationships and play: by the age of 3-4 he should increase his vocabulary and start small speeches».

4. When to ask for help

«If the above-mentioned milestones are not reached by the child, that at 3-4 years


Each situation is different and "will have to be evaluated in all its aspects with extreme care".

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The speech therapist is already able to intervene in prevention, "with the treatment and cure of speech disorders and delays found in children".

5. How to solve the problem

Once the problem has been identified, we work to transmit skills, to ensure that the child can exploit the benefits of therapy even in daily life.

"Lo tool used to work on children is always the game. Through the game, a path of accompaniment to the language is established ».

The times, dedicated to the interaction with the speech therapist, "can be extremely varied and range from five sessions to three or more years of treatment depending on the type of difficulty that is encountered".

The type of work proposed is always integrated: «work on the child and continuous counseling for parents. The latter is very important: well-informed and followed parents are of considerable help to the child. If on the one hand the speech therapist stands as a linguistic model, parents with dialogue at home can become an effective bridge between therapy and everyday life ".

Video: Children late talker. How to help them speak

In this video the speech therapist, Dr. Silvia Mari, talks to us about late talker children, or children late in language. She explains how to intervene to stimulate them to speak


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Updated on 04.04.2022

  • speak
  • speech therapist
  • language development
  • 1-2 children years
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