Is Your Child’s Speech and Language Delayed?

Guest Authored By Andrea Levy, MS, CCC-SLP

Early intervention improves outcomes for children and their families. It is important for parents and pediatricians to look for these early warning signs of a speech and language disorder and intervene early. Families should seek an evaluation with a speech-language pathologist if early speech and language milestones are not met on time. Speech-language pathologists are master level trained healthcare professionals that evaluate and treat speech and language disorders. They work with individuals that have difficulty with articulation, comprehension, expressive language, feeding, voice, fluency, and social communication.  

Red Flags for Language Development: 

1 year old:  

  • Has difficulty understanding what others say  
  • Does not respond to his/her name  
  • Does not point to simple vocabulary items (e.g., food, farm animals, body parts) when asked, “Where’s the ____?” 
  • Difficulty understanding simple directions (e.g., “come here”, “sit down”) 
  • Does not use gestures (e.g., waving “hi” and “bye”, shaking head “no” and nodding “yes”, pointing) 
  • Says only a few words between 12-18 months 

2 years old: 

  • Does not yet combine words into phrases (e.g., “Hi Mama”; “big dog”, “I want bubbles”) 
  • Words are not easily understood  
  • Says less than 100 words  
  • Does not engage in pretend play with toys (e.g., feeding doll, pushing a car) 

3 years old:  

  • Does not speak in sentences  
  • Does not ask “who”, “what”, or “where” questions  
  • Difficulty with early reading and writing skills 
  • Struggles to play with peers  
  • Early grammar is not yet emerging, such as present progressive –ing (e.g., “running”) 
  • Does not use a variety of action verbs  

Red Flags for Speech Development:  

1-2 years old: 

  • Errors with p, b, m, h, and w in words 

2-3 years old:  

  • Errors with k, g, f, t, d, and n in words 
  • Speech that is mostly unintelligible to listeners  

An evaluation with a speech-language pathologist is strongly recommended if you notice one or more of these early warning signs. If you think your child would benefit from a speech therapy screening or evaluation, contact Eyas Landing at (312) 733-0883.