Developmental Red Flags
For Child Speech Delays
- Not able to communicate in short phrases at three years
- Not able to understand simple multi-step instructions
Read our Articulation FAQ
Thankfully, there are many ways to deal with delays in child
development and behaviors.
These include in-home services, outpatient (you take your child
to a clinic), inpatient (following injury or surgery) and school
based services. Which type of therapy should you choose?
Visit our Therapy
Options area to learn more.
Ask a Therapist
We understand developmental milestones and the challenges of
Special Needs children. We spend a great deal of time with
families understanding the inner workings of childhood routines
and interactions. Ask us about your child today!
Ask a Therapist
Intervention Support contacts in your State. If you have a
question or comment for us, please visit our
From Our Readers
Thank you for responding and for the link to the fragile x foundation this will help me a lot. Once again thank you.
Diana in Phoenix, AZ
Speech Development for Toddlers
In speech development, most two-and-a-half-year olds can:
- Use 50+ words
- Answer questions
- Refer to self as "I" or "me"
- Communicate mostly with speech and shows frustration
In speech development, most three-year-olds can:
- Identify body parts
- Carry on a 'conversation' with self and dolls
- Ask "what's that?" And "where's my?"
- Use 2-word negative phrases such as "no want"
- Form some plurals by adding "s": book, books
- Speak 450 words
- Give first name, hold up fingers to tell age
- Combine nouns and verbs "mommy go"
- Understand simple time concepts: "last night",
- Refer to self as "me" rather than by name
- Try to get adult attention: "watch me"
- Like to hear same story repeated
- Possibly say "no" when means "yes"
- Talk to other children as well as adults
- Solve problems by talking instead of hitting or crying
- Answer "where" questions
- Name common pictures and things
- Use short sentences like "me want more" or "me want
- Ask questions starting "when", "where" or "who"
- Be understood 80% of the time
- Use vocabulary of 200+ words
- Repeat five word sentences
- Can often make words into the plural e.g. "She 'doed'
Parenting Tips for Speech Skills
Suggested play to help with toddler speech development
between 2 and 3:
- Take field trips. Your child will enjoy going to new
places. This doesn't need to be expensive. For example, take
a bus to a different part of town, walk by the big
buildings, then sit on a bench and watch the buses and
trucks drive by. Even better, see if you can find a
construction site! Little boys and girls both love to watch
back hoes in action.
- Make sock puppets. No need to make this an elaborate
craft project. Simply put a sock over your hand and pretend
to talk to your toddler. "I'm Suzy the sock. I love to keep
your toes warm." Encourage your toddler to talk back (as
him/herself, or as another sock).
- Sing songs. If you don't remember songs from your own
childhood, go to the library and pick up a book with
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" or "Ba Ba Black Sheep." Your
toddler will love to sing the song for someone else in the
- Wash a baby. Give your toddler a plastic tub and a
plastic doll and have him/her wash the doll or, he/she can
bring the doll into the tub. Name the doll parts as they are
washed, You did a good job washing the baby's feet! Praise
your child for taking such good care of his/her baby.
- What did I hear? Try this at night. When the house is
quiet, listen with your child for interesting sounds.
"What's that?" "Its the refrigerator motor." This is good to
do on a summer night when you might hear crickets, wind
chimes or a dog barking.
- Make a photo album. Fill this book with pictures of
people and pets that your child knows. As your child is
looking at the book, ask him/her to tell you a little bit
about the people or pets that he/she sees.
- Play the forgetful game. You child will laugh when you
give everyday household items silly names. Point to your
child's bed and say, "I forget what this is. Is it a car?"
Your child will enjoy telling you the real word. The sillier
you are makes this even better!
- Read, pause and ask. When reading a book, take the time
to stop and ask questions. Point to the illustrations and
ask your toddler what they think will happen next.
Speech Skills by Age Group
Find Early Intervention
Support contacts in your State. If you have a question or comment for
us, please visit our Contact page.
Early Intervention Helps with Developmental Delay
For children with Special Needs, intervention in early childhood
development means finding specific ways to help a child become as functional
Learn more on our Parenting
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