Many children will regress in their speech skills at different points in their development. This can be very worrying for parents and carers but does not necessarily mean there is a cause for concern.
Here are three common issues which can cause speech delays.
Emotional issues such as the birth of a sibling
When a sibling is born, much of the focus in the family goes to the new child. It is very normal for a child to regress in their speech and take on more 'baby-like' characteristics. This is an indication that they need more emotional support and would prefer to go back to an age where life felt easier and people were doing more for them. This is very normal and tends to self-correct over time when the child gets some more attention.
Autism can take a varied onset path, which in some cases includes a sudden appearance in children around 2-3 years old. Children who show signs of autism at this age often start to 'lose' the language that they have previously had and may develop other symptoms including difficulty in making eye contact and issues with social interaction. It can be hard to tell the difference between the usual varied development path of young children and a child with autism, so it is a good idea to take your child for a professional assessment if you are worried that this is an issue for your child.
If your child does turn out to be autistic, getting early support including speech therapy can make a huge difference in their skills and abilities as they develop.
Even when children have 'gained' a speech skill such as making a certain sound or combination of sounds, they are constantly listening to their speech and self-correcting. Children who lose hearing during childhood often develop a flat or odd cadence in their speech and may confuse sounds that have a similar mouth position for pronunciation (such as /d/ and /t/). If your child seems to be losing accuracy in pronunciation and struggling to self-correct speech issues, it can be a good idea to take them for a hearing assessment and meeting with a speech pathologist to establish if there are any issues with their hearing.
As you can see, a range of issues including emotional development and physical problems can result in speech regression. It is a good idea to get your child's speech assessed at a clinic like communiKIDS if you are concerned so that you can determine the underlying reason for the regression.