Babies begin communicating through crying and cooing as soon as they are born. By 12 months they begin to develop words and by 18 months they have a vocabulary of approximately 50 words. When children are ready for school, their vocabulary is estimated to be between 2300 and 4700 words!

However, children who are not meeting speech and language milestones have an increased risk of reading and writing difficulties, as well developing peer relationships in school.

By 24 months a child should have a minimum of 50 words and be able to put two words together in order to make requests (more Juice), comment (big ball) and request actions (mummy up).  At this age they should also be able to understand simple commands (show me your nose) and be understood 50% of the time by people unfamiliar with their speech. Speech errors, such as substituting sounds (wook vs. look), leaving off sounds (poon vs. spoon) and deleting syllables (getti vs. spaghetti) are common at this age.

Between 24 and 36 months children tend to show rapid growth in their speech and language abilities and by 36 months a child should be 75% intelligible to unfamiliar people.

By 48 months, a child should be able to use 5 or more words to produce longer, grammatically correct sentences. They should be able to use words like ‘and’ and ‘because’. “Wh” (what, where, why, who, how) questions become a regular part of their speech. They should also be able to relate recent events, although will have difficulty with elements such as time. “When” questions are difficult at this stage.

At 48 months, children should be able to follow familiar 2 and 3 step directions (wash your hands and sit at the table) as well as less routine instructions (put the lego in the box on the floor).  At this stage, speech should be 100% intelligible to all listeners.

Speech errors such as deleting syllables, leaving off sounds at the start or end of words and substituting sounds should have stopped. Some speech sounds continue to be challenging, such as “r” and “th”.

At Speech Therapy Works, we believe that early intervention is important. We use play-based therapy to encourage and engage children in all aspects of speech and language. For children, play is when they naturally learn best.

If you have concerns with your child’s speech and language development, please call us at (416) 553-0729 to book an appointment with a Speech Language Pathologist. We offer flexible day, evening and weekend appointments in our Clinic as well as in-home. In home therapy is available in Toronto, North York, Scarborough, Pickering, Markham, Woodbridge, Richmond Hill, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton, Ajax and Whitby.

To see the entire article, go to: