When Should I Take My Child to a Speech Therapist?

Like other milestones, your child’s speech will develop over time. If you’re getting the sense that your child may be falling behind or having trouble understanding and communicating, you shouldn’t ignore the signs. Here’s what to watch out for to determine if you need to consider a speech therapist.

  • Your child has a stutter
  • People think your child is younger than he or she is due to speech issues
  • Your child struggles with reading or writing
  • You or other people have trouble understanding your child
  • Your child isn’t speaking as much as others in their age group

The earlier you catch a speech issue, the better. As your child enters school he or she could have trouble communicating in class which could affect academic performance and social scenarios.

A normal trajectory for your child’s speech development, by age, should be similar to the indicators listed below.

18 months

  • Uses 10 or more words
  • Understands basic commands
  • Understands the names of basic objects

2 years

  • Uses at least 50 words
  • Can name pictures in stories
  • Points to body parts when named

3 years

  • Able to participate in short conversations
  • Pronounces final consonant in words
  • Asks “why”

4 years

  • Speaks in whole sentences
  • Asks a lot of questions
  • Tells stories

5 years

  • Does well when learning how to read
  • Can answer ‘when’ and ‘why’ questions
  • Talks about the past and the future

If you think your child is behind in his or her speech development, talk to your pediatric provider. He or she can give you a second opinion and/or refer you to a speech therapist.