Horizon ChildAs your child moves from baby sounds to babbling to complete words and sentences, there are things you can do to encourage his or her speech development.

The first thing to know is that what you think is a delay may simply be the unique and personal way your toddler is developing; all toddlers don't learn or grow at the same pace.

On the other hand, if you do think something is wrong and ignore it, your child may have more difficulties later. For example, some children are capable of speech early but a hearing problem may be getting in their way of mastering verbal skills. Being treated for a hearing problem could keep that child on the right track developmentally.

Parents may view a child whose speech as delayed as being stubborn or uncooperative. Attempts to force a child to talk may only make that child more reluctant and this can get in the way of speech development even if there are no other underlying issues.

Some parents think that a young child with talkative older siblings or a large extended family is simply too shy to talk when others have so much to say. While that may be the case, parents have to observe the child carefully to figure out if it is the child's personality or if there is a developmental delay that may need expert intervention.

If you are concerned that your child does not seem to talk as much as you think he or she should, remember these words from "The basics of toddler speech development: What parents need to know,"

"Perhaps most important is that a child be in a supportive environment where he is talked to often, and people listen to him."

Our discounted Toddler Care program is a nurturing environment where your child can practice communicating with our experienced staff as well as with his or her peers.