Rarely is the cause of speech and language issues truly known, and rather than harp on this, a professional is likely to suggest a proactive approach. First, book an appointment with your doctor and have them make out a referral to see a speech and language pathologist. They’ll probably run a few tests to evaluate the needs of your child and whether a problem truly exists. More than likely this will first involve a hearing test. Ruling this out, you’ll probably be recommended specific tasks and activities.
Among them are reading more often to your child, using correct grammar and pronunciation, encouraging repetition and using shorter sentences with simpler words. A professional will probably tell you to model proper speech instead of focusing on corrective measures. You might also be recommended individual therapy based on the extent of the delay based on your child’s age and other factors. In certain cases, sign language is recommended. Thankfully, you’re already all over this!
While you have all this information to digest, keep in mind that all babies progress differently. While it might seem certain that your baby is behind at the moment, there’s no reason he can’t grow exponentially tomorrow, or the next day. Whatever happens, keep on signing to facilitate communication as your baby’s abilities continue to accelerate with one important caveat; allow a professional to make the call. Don’t just assume that introducing sign language right now because your baby is not talking is the right course of action. Your speech and language pathologist might recommend that signing not be introduced for fear that it might make matters worse. If you are already signing then leave it to a professional to make a situation specific judgment. We already know that signing helps move language forward and this is no different for late talkers, it just might not be the way to proceed forward.