When should you worry about toddlers’ speech?

21 Nov, 2022

As any parent can attest, the joy of hearing your child speak for the first time is unlike anything else. However, for some children, speech and language development does not come as easily as it does for others. In fact, approximately 20% of children starting school have a speech-related problem. 

While it can be concerning to suspect that your toddler has a speech or language delay, the good news is that these kinds of delays are quite common. Early detection and intervention play a big part in helping your child overcome their challenges and gain confidence when speaking with others. 

Toddler's speech

Speech development milestones – signs of delay to look out for with your child 

Signs of speech and language development can vary depending on the child’s age and stage of development.  

At age 2 to 3 years 

Signs that your child may be struggling with speech and language development can include failing to respond to their name, difficulty mimicking gestures or a lack of verbal communication of immediate needs. Children at this age often have trouble using certain sounds such as k, g, f, t, d, and n. Additionally, some children struggle with naming objects. 

Age 3 to 4 years 

There are several different signs that your child may be struggling with speech and language development at ages 3 to 4 years. These can include difficulty with expressive language, following simple requests or answering “who”, “what”, “where”, and “why” questions. Additionally, your child may have trouble saying common phrases such as “bye bye”. They may also struggle to hear you when you call from another room, or have difficulty watching the TV at the same volume as the rest of the family. Other potential signs include problems with articulation and speech fluency, such as stuttering or hesitation before forming words. 

Ages 4 or 5 years 

By age 4 or 5, most children can recite a variety of numbers and letters including knowing the alphabet and being able to count to 20 or more. If your child is having difficulty learning numbers and letters, it’s important to get them professional help early on. Another sign that your child may be struggling with speech and language development is if they have difficulty saying most sounds correctly. This includes sounds like “k,” “g,” “f,” “v,” “th,” “sh,” “ch,” “j,” and “z.” 

Your child may also be struggling with speech and language development if they don’t seem to be paying attention to stories or ask questions about them. It’s normal for young children to have short attention spans, however, if your child is unable to sit still for even a short story, it may indicate there is a problem. Additionally, if your child doesn’t ask questions about the stories you’re telling them, it may mean that they aren’t comprehending what you’re saying. This is another area where early intervention can make a big difference.  

While these behaviours may seem insignificant on their own, they can be indicative of more serious problems and should always be taken seriously. 

Contact us 

If you have any concerns with your child’s speech and language development, it’s important to reach out to a Speech Pathology service as soon as possible.  

At Gen Physio, our mobile clinicians can offer early intervention and support for your child to overcome any challenges and assist with their speech goals. Get in touch with our friendly team to book an appointment today. 

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