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Does my child need therapy?

All children develop speech and language skills at different times. We as speech language pathologists, however, become concerned when children are falling significantly below their age level for both understanding and talking.

Here are a few guidelines you can use to see if your children are developing speech and language skills appropriately:

7 months to 2 years old

Hearing & Understanding

  • Enjoys games like peak-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Turns and looks in the direction of sounds
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Recognizes words for common items like "cup", "shoe", "juice"
  • Begins to respond to simple requests ("come Here", "want more")



  • Babbling with both long and short groups of sounds "tata upup bibibibi"
  • Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Has 1 or 2 words ("bye, bye, dada, mama")

1 to 2 years old

Hearing & Understanding

  • Points to a few body parts
  • Follows 1 to 2 step directions and understands simple questions ("Roll the ball, "kiss the baby", "Go get your shoes")
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes
  • Points to pictures in a book when named


  • Says more words every month
  • Uses some 1-2 word questions ("where kitty?", "go bye-bye"?, "what's that?")
  • Put 2 words together ("more cookie", "no juice", "mommy book")
  • Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words

2 to 3 years old

Hearing & Understanding

  • Hears when you call from another room
  • Answers simple "who?", "what?", "where?", "why" questions
  • Follows 2 to 3 step directions


  • Has a word for almost everything
  • Uses 2-3 words to talk about and ask for things
  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time
  • Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them

3 to 4 years old

Hearing & Understanding

  • understands differences in meaning ("go-stop", "in-on", "big-little", "up-down")
  • Follows 2 requests ("Get the book and put it on the table")
  • understands action words ("jump, run, wash") and descriptive words ("big, wet, little")


  • Talks about activities completed earlier such as from school or a friends home
  • People outside the family understands the child's speech
  • Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words
  • Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words

4 to 5 years old

Hearing & Understanding

  • Pays attention to short stories and answers simple questions about it
  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school
  • Understands spatial concepts (under, in back of, next to, in front of)
  • Makes inferences ("what will happen if.") from pictures and stories
  • Understands and can produce rhyming words
  • Can clap out multi-syllable words


  • Voice sounds clear like other children's
  • Uses sentences that give lots of details ("I like to read my books")
  • Tells stories that stick to topic
  • Communicates easily with other children and adults
  • Says most sounds correctly
  • Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family

When Is Therapy Needed?

If your child is not reaching these milestones or if you have concerns regarding any of these milestones please contact our office and set up an appointment with our licensed speech-language pathologists. During the evaluation, our therapists will play with your child and talk to you about what your child is doing at home. We will only recommend therapy if we feel your child is significantly below their peers in at least one area.

Read more about the PediaSpeech evaluation process.


How Does Therapy Work?

Therapy is done on a one-on-one setting with you involved. We bring in motivating play activities designed to encourage your children to communicate and teach them and you ways at home to encourage communication. Parents and caregivers are the key to success in achieving our short-term and long-term goals.

Read more about the disorders we treat and some of the methods we use.



Schedule An Appointment

Do you think your child might benefit from speech therapy? Contact Pediaspeech to schedule an appointment to meet with a PediaSpeech specialist.