Having a “quiet baby” can be a clinical “red flag” in children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). Often, when a baby is “quiet” a parent may think it is well behaved. In speech development “quiet” and well behaved do not go hand in hand. Babies should begin babbling consonants around 6-9 months-old. The first consonants to develop are bilabial sounds: p,b,m. At 12-months, on average, children should be consistently producing 2-3 words, at 15-months 20 words, and at 18-months 50 words. Do not mistake “quiet” for well behaved.
Limited vocalizations in the first two year of life, few consonant productions, and producing mostly vowel sounds may lead you to describe your child as “quiet.” Recent research by Overby, Caspari, and Schreiber have identified these characteristics as “RED FLAGS” for CAS.
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder that makes it hard to speak. Children have difficulty planning and programming speech movements. Children with CAS seem to know what they want to say but have difficulty getting the message from their brain and turning it into speech.
If your child is “quiet” and not meeting their speech and language milestones it is a good idea to have them evaluated by a speech pathologist who specializes in CAS.
Resources: Overby, Caspari, Schreiber (2019). Volubility, Consonant Emergence, and Syllabic Structure in Infants Later Diagnosed with CAS, Speech Sound Disorder, and Typical Development, Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 62(6), 1657-1675.