Speech and Language Development

Speech and Language Development - Holland Pediatric, Norman, Oklahoma

Parents frequently ask when speech therapy for children is appropriate. While individual children develop at different rates, there is a general pattern to children’s language development.

By the age of one
Your baby should be able to: 

  • Respond to familiar sounds such as the telephone ringing, the vacuum cleaner or the car in the driveway
  • Understand simple commands such as “no”
  • Recognize their own name
  • Understand the names of familiar objects or people
  • Say “daddy” and “momma” and a few other words
  • Enjoy songs, music and books
  • Try to make familiar sounds such as vehicle and animal noises

By the age of two
Your toddler should be able to: 

  • Say the names of simple body parts, such as eye and nose
  • Listen to stories and name pictures
  • Understand simple sentences such as “Where’s daddy?”
  • Use more than fifty words
  • Talk to themselves or their toys during play
  • Demonstrate pretend play (e.g., talk on toy phone, brush doll’s hair)
  • Sing simple songs and nursery rhymes
  • Use pronouns such as “he” and “I”
  • Use simple sentences such as “More cookies, please”

By the age of three
Your child should be able to: 

  • Understand how objects are used eg a crayon is something to draw with
  • Recognize their own needs such as hunger
  • Follow directions
  • Use 3-4 word sentences
  • Begin using basic grammar
  • Enjoy telling stories and asking questions
  • Have favorite toys, books and TV programs
  • Be understood by familiar adults

By the age of four
Your child should be able to: 

  • Understand shapes and color names
  • Understand some time words such as lunchtime, today and winter
  • Ask “who,” “what,” and “when” questions
  • Use about 900 words, usually in four or five word sentences
  • Use correct grammar with occasional mistakes such as “I falled down”
  • Speak clearly enough to be understood by most people

By the age of five
Your child should be able to: 

  • Understand opposites such as wet and dry, big and little
  • Use sentences of about 6 words with correct grammar
  • Talk about events that are happening, have happened or might happen
  • Explain why something happens
  • Explain the function of objects
  • Follow three directions (e.g., “Get your shoes, put them on and wait by the door”)
  • Explain how they feel and tell you their ideas
  • Become interested in writing, numbers and reading
  • Speak clearly enough to be understood by anyone