In our last issue, we laid the foundation for speech and language development. Speech-Language Therapist, Cecile Watkins, unpacks development form the ages of 2-5 years old, how we can identify signs of irregular development and how we as parents can help them.

Language Development 2-5 years old

Identify the Signs

Children develop at their own rate. Some children walk and talk early. Others take longer. Most children learn skills within an age range, such as between 12 and 18 months. A child who takes longer to learn a skill may have a problem.

It is important that you know what to expect. Below are some signs of speech, language, and hearing problems. You’ll see the expected age range next to each skill.

Language Disorders

Language is made up of the words we use to share ideas and get what we want. Language includes speaking, understanding, reading, and writing. A child with a language disorder may have trouble with one or more of these skills.

You can help your child learn language by:

  • Talking, reading, and playing with your child.
  • Listening and responding to what your child says.
  • Talking with your child in the language that you are most comfortable using.
  • Teaching your child to speak another language, if you speak one.
  • Talking about what you do and what your child does during the day.
  • Using a lot of different words with your child.
  • Using longer sentences, as your child gets older.
  • Having your child play with other children.

Speech Sound Disorders

Speech is how we say sounds and words. It is normal for young children to say some sounds the wrong way. Some sounds do not develop until a child is 4, 5, or 6 years old. Signs of a speech sound disorder in young children include:

1–2 years Not saying p, b, m, h, and w the right way in words most of the time
2-3 years  

Not saying k, g, f, t, d, and n the right way in words most of the time. Being hard to understand, even to people who know the child  well.

You can help your child learn to say sounds by:

  • Saying sounds the right way when you talk. Your child needs good speech model!

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