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Does My Child Need Speech Therapy?

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Our children develop at an astounding rate during the first few years of life. Within the first six months, children begin to babble, and by their first birthday, they are uttering their first word.

In terms of speech/articulation, by the age of two, the American Speech-Hearing Association states that children should have mastered the following consonant sounds at the word level: p, b, t, d, k, g, m, n, ng, w, y, h, f. A child’s speech should be between 50-75% intelligible to an unfamiliar listener (percentage of speech a listener can understand). 

By the age of two, expressive language skills should include: Expressive vocabulary of 200-300 words; 2-word phrases predominate; responds to yes/no questions; uses verbs and adjectives; refers to self by name; marks a question with rising inflection. By 36 months old the child should combine 3-4 words; answer “wh” questions; use possession; use adverbs (here, now); use “is”; use a variety of grammatical endings (Sax and Weston, 2007).

By the age of two, receptive language skills should include: Understands 200 words; words are understood outside of routine games; points to familiar or desired objects; follows one-step commands; uses nouns, verbs, possessives (mine), rejections (no), agents (names). Understands words for objects out of sight; listens to simple stories; follows directions involving spatial concepts (Sax and Weston, 2007).

Although each child develops at their own rate, it is important to take into account their developmental milestones. To see how many milestones your child has currently met, consult our common checklist for speech and language development milestones.

The “wait and see” method is no longer widely used by parents. If your kid is already exhibiting signs of a speech delay, we advise speaking with a speech-language pathologist (SLP). We want you to know that you are not alone, you haven’t done anything wrong, and there is help available if you believe your kid would benefit from speech and language therapy.

-Jeff Greenfield, MS, CCC-SLP

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