Should my child see a Speech Pathologist?

Children learn and develop at different rates. For some children, it is a smooth transition from babbling to producing structurally and grammatically correct sentences. Whilst for others, it can be challenging and requires extra support.

Parents will usually notice that their child is not communicating or understanding as well as other children at playgroup or preschool. As a general rule, a two year old should be using two word combinations, and by three you should be able to understand most of what they say. Most importantly, you want to be seeing continual improvements in their speech and understanding. Children are naturally curious and love to learn, and should be learning new words every day to develop their rapidly expanding vocabulary knowledge.

You should contact a Speech Pathologist if:

  • You or others have difficulty understanding your child
  • Your child is getting frustrated because people don’t understand him/her
  • Your child is talking less than other children his/her age
  • Your child stutters
  • Your child has a consistently hoarse/husky sounding voice
  • Your child has trouble playing with others
  • Your child is struggling with reading, writing, and learning new concepts
  • Your child has a diagnosis that could affect their speech and language development, including: Developmental Delay, Hearing Impairment, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or Cleft Lip/Palate

A Speech Pathologist will assess your child to determine their areas of strength and difficulties. Results and recommendations will be discussed, and any questions answered. If Speech Therapy is required, then clear goals will be identified based on your child’s results and through discussion with you, your child’s teacher and other professionals involved in your child’s care (e.g. your GP, Paediatrician, Occupational Therapist, Psychologist).

Communication Checklist

Use the checklist below to determine if your child’s communication is developing appropriately for their age. If you have any concerns, speak to your teacher or GP, or contact us to discuss booking a speech and language assessment.

 2 years

  • Points to some body parts and clothing items when named
  • Combines 2 words together (e.g. “more juice”)
  • Answers ‘what’ questions (e.g. “What’s that?”)
  • Follows simple instructions (e.g. “Get your hat”)
  • Sings simple songs or nursery rhymes
  • Says at least 50 words
  • You can understand approximately 50% of what they say

3 years

  • Combines 3 or more words together in a sentence
  • Asks “why” questions
  • Answers “where” questions
  • Follows two-part instructions (e.g. “Get the book and put it on the table”)
  • Talks about something that happened yesterday or last week
  • Uses basic grammar
  • You can understand approximately 75% of what they say

4 years

  • Uses longer sentences
  • Describes events and tells stories
  • Uses adult-like grammar
  • Answers “who” and “why” questions
  • Pronounces all sounds accurately, with the exception of ‘r’, ‘v’, and ‘th’ and long multisyllabic words (e.g. caterpillar, spaghetti)
  • Follows 1-2 part sequential (e.g. put your shoes on then get your bag) and spatial (e.g. point to the apple next to the tree) instructions.
  • Developing pre-literacy skills including rhyme (e.g. cat/mat), syllabification (e.g. mo-tor-bike), and letter/sound knowledge (e.g. apple starts with ‘a’)

5 years +

  • Describes past and future events using a combination of sentences
  • You can easily understand what they say
  • May still have trouble with the “th” sound
  • Asks and answers ‘when’ and ‘how’ questions
  • Understands and uses time concepts such as ‘yesterday’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘next week’
  • Follows 2-3 part temporal instructions (e.g. point to the ball before the house and the car) and conditional instructions (e.g. If the train is on the track, then put the car in the garage)
  • Identifies sounds and letters in words (e.g. p-l-ay makes play)

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