Does your Child need Speech Therapy?

When should I take my child to a speech language pathologist / speech therapist?

Your child should visit a speech language therapist if they are having trouble with:


1. Articulating certain sounds:

Typical age for development(years) Sounds
2 p | d | m | w | h | n
3 t | b | k | g
4-5 f | v | y
5-7 s | z | j | l | r | sh | ch | th | blends


2. Speaking fluently: Hesitation in their flow of speech, e.g. “mm-mm-mama"


3. Speaking age appropriately:

Below is a table of typical infant/toddler language development (table courtesy: American Speech & Hearing Association)

Birth - 3 Months »

Hearing and Understanding Talking
Startles to loud sounds Makes pleasure sounds (cooing, gooing)
Quiets or smiles when spoken to Cries differently for different needs
Seems to recognize your voice and quiets if crying Smiles when sees you
Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to sound  

4 - 6 Months »

Hearing and Understanding Talking
Moves eyes in direction of sounds Babbling sounds more speech-like with many different sounds, including p, b and m
Responds to changes in tone of your voice Chuckles and laughs
Pays attention to music Vocalizes excitement and displeasure
  Makes gurgling sounds when left alone and when playing with you

7 - 12 Months »

Hearing and Understanding Talking
Enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds such as "tata upup bibibibi"
Turns and looks in direction of sounds Uses speech or non crying sounds to get and keep attention
Listens when spoken to Uses gestures to communication (waving, holding arms to be picked up)
Begins to respond to requests (e.g. "Come here" or "Want more?") Imitates different speech sounds
  Has one or two words (hi, dog,dada, mama) around first birthday, although sounds may not be clear

1 - 2 years »

Hearing and Understanding Talking
Points to a few body parts when asked Says more words every month
Follows simple commands and understands simple questions ("Roll the ball," "Kiss the baby," "Where's your shoe?") Uses some one- or two- word questions ("Where kitty?" "Go bye-bye?" "What's that?")
Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes Uses gestures to communication (waving, holding arms to be picked up)
Points to pictures in a book when named Puts two words together ("more cookie," "no juice," "mommy book")
  Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words

2 - 3 years »

Hearing and Understanding Talking
Understands differences in meaning ("go-stop," "in-on," "big-little," "up-down"). Has a word for almost everything.
Follows two requests ("Get the book and put it on the table"). Uses two- or three- words to talk about and ask for things.
Listens to and enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of time Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds.
  Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time.
  Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them.

3 - 4 years »

Hearing and Understanding Talking
Hears you when you call from another room. Talks about activities at school or at friends' homes.
Hears television or radio at the same loudness level as other family members. People outside of the family usually understand child's speech.
Answers simple "who?", "what?", "where?", and "why?" questions. Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words.
  Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words.

4 - 5 years »

Hearing and Understanding Talking
Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about them. Uses sentences that give lots of details ("The biggest peach is mine").
Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school. Tells stories that stick to topic.
  Communicates easily with other children and adults.
  Says rhyming words.
  Names some letters and numbers.
  Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family.


4. Voice Quality: Hoarse, nasal or off pitch (high or low) voice


5. Feeding: Being averse to foods, trouble chewing, holding their food for too long in their mouth, or gagging


How early should/ can I begin speech-language therapy?

This depends on the communication milestones that are expected at every age. Speech therapists can begin working with children as early as 12 months of age for communication skills. However in the case of feeding/swallowing issues, intervention can start as early as a few weeks to a month of birth.


Should I wait for my child to “outgrow" his/her speech issue?

No. Early intervention in speech and language shows the best results. If you are concerned about your child's speech and language it is best to see a speech therapist for an assessment. Research has shown that children with untreated speech and language difficulties are at a higher risk for learning difficulties at school age.


Read more about : Promoting Speech & Language In Infants!, How does hearing many languages affect your child's speech development?,  What No One Ever Told You About Your Voice!

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Comments (29)

Rhituparna Mitra Gauri Rane Nayana Nanaware can't read this article clearly on my phone :( BabyChakra

really important artical full of information.

Rhituparna Mitra

Thanks ila bharati

super. concise and good as a reference.

hi @merzia - my twin boys are 3 years and 5 months. they talk, but do not answer who what why, nor tell me about their school activities, or name friends. absolutely no descriptions about any experience.. They do use 4 or more words, but also sometimes repet the same word multiple times if it does not sound right to them, mostly no repetition. do we need speech therapy?

Merzia Maskati Merzia Maskati Rhituparna Mitra can you answer Prisha Lalwani s question!

Pratiksha Gupta can you please help Prisha Lalwani?

Prisha Lalwani There are many factors that govern expressive language ( speech) Its important that we establish other important inputs about your twins. Receptive language ( ability to understand language) contributes hugely. So before jumping onto any conclusions , I would like to know if your children follow commands well? are they able understand language as other children  their age?  How are pre linguistic skills of joint attention, eye contact and attention span? Are you providing the correct opportunities and model for them to speak? There is a research based app called Speech Doctor on the Google Apps Store. It's a test which tells if your child has a speech/language delay. that can be helpful for you.Rhituparna Mitra

thank you so much Pratiksha Gupta. they do understand commands well and follow my instructions, eye coordination seems good, infact they often sit and read with me, can also read and pronounce words on their own. I'm only concerned that they do not describe their experiences, of what they had in lunch, if it was yummy or not, what happened in school, names of their classmates... no descriptions there. I'll download that app and check too, thank you :-)

This is so well written.

This is so well written.

I wish I knew this before

This is so well written.

This is so well written.

This is so well written.

I wish I knew this before

This is just in time

This is so well written.

Hii Merzia...i have a baby boy who is 2 years and 5 months old, when he started talking he was alright, his speech was very clear and fluent but from 3 months back may be he got fear from a bike's sound and from that day he started stammering...till now his speech is not clear he stammers...i m very much worried for him..plzz suggest some solution. He start talking like mmmm-mumma...or hhhh-hum..etc..someday he looks alright but someday he stammers in every line or most of the time.

@Monika Raghav
It's very typical for children between the ages of 2.5-3.5 years to demonstrate "stuttering/stammering like" symptoms. We call them normal non fluencies. Most children outgrow this by 3.5 years, if he does not then visit a speech therapist at that time. Right now just don't bring any attention to it. Don't rush him, correct him or speak for him. Give him his time to talk

This is just in time

I wish I knew this before

This is exactly what I was looking for.

Really very informative & useful

My baby is 15 months old,,which words should he speak

@Neha Gangwar
By 15 months he should be naming family members, nouns such as his favorite toys, some word for food/water and waving hi/bye and/or saying it.

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