Does your 9 month old…
- respond to their name?
- respond to the telephone ringing or a knock at the door?
- understand being told “no”?
- get what they want through sounds and gestures?
- play social games with you e.g., peek-a-boo?
- enjoy being around people?
- babble and repeat sounds – babababa, duhduhduh?
If your child does not do one or several of the above, First Words can help! Complete the Communication Checkup or contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 or 613-PARENTS for more information.
Also look out for any of these red flags:
- Limited eye gaze
- Limited shared interest in others
- Limited social smiling
- Lack of sound imitation: Child is unusually quiet; does not attempt to repeat sounds or words
- Absence of babbling with consonant sounds
- Late onset/limited use of gestures (i.e. reaching to be picked up)
- Child does not appear to be reaching the appropriate milestones
- Any loss of any social and/or language skills
If you have noticed any of these red flags, your child may be dealing with a developmental issue as well as a language delay and will need more support. An immediate referral to the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC) for a developmental assessment might be required. Contact OCTC at 613-737-0871.
Here are a few quick strategies to help your 9 month old learn to communicate:
- Position yourself to face your baby so you can see each other’s reactions. This will help your child see the way you are making your sounds.
- Name objects that your baby is playing with. Talk about what interests them.
- Avoid using “baby talk.” Call objects by their correct name.
- Interpret your child’s sounds and gestures by putting words to them.
- Play social games that involve lots of repetition e.g. ”peek-a-boo”, “patty-cake.”
- Sing songs and have fun doing daily routines like meals, bath and dressing time.
- Check out our “Strategies” and “Learning Tools” sections for other strategies and resources!