It can be difficult as a parent to anticipate your child’s every need, especially as a first-time parent. One area that parents are often confused about is whether or not their child’s speech and language skills are developing normally.

In order to help parents get a better understanding of speech and language milestones, the experienced speech-language therapists at SLPtele would like to share with you a few insights on what your child should be able to do and say and if they may benefit from online speech therapy services.

Speech Milestones to Watch For

Recognizing the speech and language milestones your child has reached can help you to determine whether or not your child may need speech therapy. If you observe that your child has not reached any of these milestones, it is important to get the support they need.

While you have the right to ultimately decide when the right time is for your child to receive speech therapy services, it is worth noting that any delay in supporting your child can lead to a lifetime of speech and language problems.

Parents should keep an eye out for these speech milestones:

  • 18 Months
    • Your child has about a 10-word vocabulary
    • Is able to identify simple things like animals or toys
    • Can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to simple questions
    • Can follow simple instructions
  • 2 Years Old
    • Is able to identify body parts
    • Can string two or more words together
    • Can identify objects (pictures) in a book
    • Has a vocabulary of 50-200 words
    • Can be understood 50% of the time
  • 3 Years Old
    • 300 to 1,000-word vocabulary
    • Can pronounce consonant sounds
    • Can make a longer sentence
    • Can have a “conversation”
  • 4 Years Old
    • Can use sentences
    • Asks plenty of questions
    • Can tell a short story
    • Can play with other kids using words
    • Can answer ‘how,’ ‘who,’ ‘who many,’ etc. type questions
    • Should be understood 90% of the time
  • 5 Years Old
    • Is learning to read
    • Can give instructions on how to use something
    • Can have a conversation
    • Understands concept of time and make requests based on it

It is highly recommended that you get your child officially evaluated by a speech and language pathologist to determine whether or not they may need speech therapy.

Additional Signs That Your Child May Need Speech Therapy

Alongside speech milestones, there are certain behaviors you may notice that suggest your child may be having difficulty with their speech and language skills, including:

  • Your child should be able to perform simple social interactions including:
    • Responding to parents with smiles and cooing (0 to 3 months)
    • Making sounds and performing small actions with hands (7 to 12 months)
    • Understands and responds to noise and talking (7 to 24 months)
  • Your child has not said their first word by 15 months.
  • You are having some difficulty with understanding what your child is saying.
  • Your child is having difficulty with making consonant sounds such as ‘pa’ or ‘ma’.
  • Other people cannot understand your child by the time they are three years old.
  • Has a speech issue such as stuttering or lisping.
  • Your child has problems with reading or writing.
  • Social interactions with other children seem unusual.

If you intuitively feel, as a parent, that your child is dealing with a condition that is affecting their speech and language skills, then there is a high likelihood that you may be correct.

The Next Steps to Take

If you believe that your child is having speech difficulties, then you should discuss your concerns with your child’s pediatrician. The pediatrician should be able to determine if there is an underlying health condition that may be contributing to the issue.

Some conditions that can affect your child’s communication skills include:

  • Behavioral and mental conditions such as autism can lead to communication problems.
  • Structural abnormalities in the mouth, throat, ears, or nose can affect communication skills.
  • Poor muscle tone in the mouth and tongue (known as hypotonia).

Depending on what your pediatrician suggests, they may determine that further steps should be taken. This should include a standardized assessment by a speech therapist to determine your child’s observable speech and language abilities.

SLPtele is here for all your online speech therapy needs. We are ready to help improve your child’s life and communication skills.

If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from a speech disorder, do not hesitate to contact SLPtele today at 877-757-8353.

Our experienced and caring team of online speech-language therapists can discuss a personalized plan to help your child unlock their full potential.