When to Start Speech Therapy for Toddlers
As a parent of a toddler (or two!) you may be wondering when to start Speech Therapy for Toddlers. If you’ve noticed your 2–3-year-old isn’t reaching their communication or language milestones, that’s one of the first indications that your toddler may benefit from the support of targeted Speech Therapy.
Keep reading to learn more about the signs your toddler may need to see a Speech Pathologist to create a tailored Speech Therapy plan.
Signs You Should Seek Out Speech Therapy for Toddlers
While toddlers often mispronounce new words and have trouble putting sentences together, there are some early signs that your toddler may need Early Intervention support from a Speech Pathologist.
Your toddler should see a Speech Pathologist for an assessment (and potentially ongoing Speech Therapy for Toddlers) if you notice…
Your toddler is talking very little or not at all
If by the age of 2-3 your toddler isn’t talking, or talks on rare occasions, it’s an indication that your child may need to be professionally assessed by a Speech Pathologist. By the age of two your child should be able to understand 2-part instructions and be able to say at least 50 words.
When a toddler is talking very little or not at all, it can be an early sign of disorders like ASD or SSD, or even expressive language or receptive language difficulties. This is why it’s so important to get a professional assessment early on to ensure your child is getting the support they need to thrive.
Click here to download our Speech Sound Milestones guide for children aged 1-5+ years.
Your toddler only uses one-word phrases
If you’ve noticed that your toddler only uses one-word phrases like “give”, “that”, “you” to communicate to you and others, this could be a sign that your child needs to see a Speech Pathologist.
By the age of 2 your child should be combining words into two-word phrases that are clear and functional – phrases like “mummy up” and “where dad” fall into this category. By the age of 3, your toddler should be able to combine 4-5 words to form sentences.
If your child is not reaching these important communication milestones, it’s worth seeking out targeted Speech Therapy for Toddlers as soon as possible.
Your toddler has trouble following directions
Following directions may sound complex, but kiddos are great up absorbing language in their early years and are generally able to follow simple directions as toddlers. If you’ve noticed your child doesn’t seem to understand when you say things like “the ball is behind you” or “go over there”, this may be an indicator of a receptive language or other communication difficulty. Language skills like these are important for your child’s growth and social development in kindergarten and beyond, so make sure to speak with a Speech Pathologist if you’ve noticed your toddler struggling in this area.
Your toddler is difficult to understand
While your toddler’s little speech quirks may be adorable, if they’re impacting on your child’s ability to be understood by unfamiliar people (like a waitress at a restaurant) you might need to consider Speech Therapy for toddlers.
By the age of 2, your toddler’s speech should be around 50% intelligible by unfamiliar communication partners (like that waitress, or even extended family members). Moving on to the age of 3, your toddler’s speech should be 70-80% intelligible.
For more insight into Speech Sound milestones and intelligibility expectations by age, take a look at our free download.
Your toddler is repeating parts of words or whole words
If you’ve noticed your toddler is repeating parts of words (like the first sound in the sentence) or whole words or phrases, your toddler may have a stutter.
When speaking it is normal to occasionally repeat words, however if it is a regular occurrence that is making your child difficult to understand (and potentially frustrating them!) it might be time to reach out to a Speech Pathologist. Here is a list of Phonological Processes and expected age of elimination that may help.
Worried about your toddler’s speech?
As passionate Speech Pathologists, we are here to help you and your toddler to reach communication and language goals and address any disorders or delays that may be causing challenges at home or kindy.
Whether you suspect that your toddler may have a Language Disorder, Language Delay, or ASD, we are here to support you.
Get in touch with the SpeechEase Speech Therapy team today to discuss Speech Therapy for Kids and book an appointment at one of our Speech Therapy clinics across Queensland. Our team of friendly Speech Therapists love helping toddlers develop their communication skills.
*Please note this information is general in nature.