identifying speech delays in 2-year-olds

Identifying Speech Delays in 2-Year-Olds

Every child develops speech and language skills at their own pace. But if you have a nagging feeling your child is lagging on this front, it’s important not to ignore that inkling. Unaddressed speech delays in 2-year-olds can cause compounding social-emotional-academic-communication problems as they get older.

The first step in addressing speech delays in 2-year-olds (or any child) is to identify it. Our Fort Myers speech therapists recommend starting with milestones. Compare your child’s speech-language skills with those that have been identified for the majority of kids in their age range.

A high-quality resource for comparison are the Communication Milestones established by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). These are broken down by age range. For 2-year-olds, we’re going to look at the skillsets identified for kids from 19-24 months and those 2-3 years.

Communication Milestones 19-24 Months

In general, a child who is between the ages of 19 and 24 months should be able to:

  • Use and understand a minimum 50+ words. These are mostly things like food, body parts, animals, toys, etc. The speech they use won’t necessarily be clear. For instance, they may say “ba” for “ball” or “du” for “shoe.”
  • Put 2+ words together to form more complete ideas. Examples: “Give ball,” “go bye-bye.”
  • Follow simple directions with two steps. Something like, “Get the spoon and bring it to me.”
  • Correctly use words like “you, mine, and me.”
  • Use their words to get help with something.
  • Use possessive terms. Example: “My shoe,” “mommy’s cup.”

If your child isn’t reaching these milestones, it may be time to get the ball rolling on intervention services by talking to your child’s pediatrician about your concerns.

Communication Milestones 2-3 Years

A child who is between 2- and 3-years-old should have the ability to:

  • Say their name when they’re asked.
  • Ask “how” and “why” questions.
  • Use –ing verbs like walking or eating, and -ed to past tense actions, such as walked or looked. Can also use plural of words, like toys or birds.
  • Actively seek to get your attention with words. Example, “Mommy, look at me!”
  • Use word combinations to express wants. Example, “I want more milk.”
  • Give reasons for certain events or things. Example: Parent asks, “Why do we wear a coat outside?” Child says, “Because it’s cold.”
  • Correctly produces most vowel sounds.
  • Correctly produces consonants n, d, w, h, m, b, and p in words.
  • Strangers might not fully understand what they’re saying, but you understand most of it. ‘

If you notice these signs or have concerns about your child’s speech-language development, it’s advisable to consult a pediatrician and/or speech-language pathologist. Early intervention is key to addressing speech delays – and doing so sooner than later can make a significant positive impact on a child’s overall development.

How Do Fort Myers Speech Therapists Treat Speech Delays in 2-Year-Olds?

Speech therapists use a variety of approaches to treat speech delays in 2-year-olds. Specific intervention plans hinge heavily on the child’s individual needs and the nature of the delay. Where there is an underlying diagnosis of a condition like autism spectrum disorder, multi-disciplinary therapies (occupational therapy, ABA therapy, etc.) may be needed for maximum early intervention support.

But our first step will be assessment. We’ll evaluate speech sounds, language comprehension, expressive language skills, and overall communication abilities.

From there, we’ll develop individualized therapy plans. These will be tailored to address the specific speech-language challenges your child is facing.

At FOCUS Therapy in Fort Myers, our speech therapists believe in play-based therapy models – particularly for toddlers and young children. This means we make therapy sessions enjoyable and interactive for maximum engagement and learning. Through play, we can target key speech and language goals, while still keeping kids motivated and engaged.

We also believe in a family-centered approach to services, meaning we strongly encourage and aid parent involvement in the speech therapy process. We offer guidance and training to parents on how to support their child’s speech and language development at home.

Regular assessment and monitoring of your child’s progress will help us determine how well a child is advancing, which techniques are working, and where we may need to switch gears to help them reach their goals – and greatest potential!

FOCUS offers pediatric speech therapy in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.

Additional Resources:

Early Intervention, ASHA

More Blog Entries:

ASHA Feeding & Swallowing Milestones Birth to Age 3, Nov. 30, 2023, Fort Myers Speech Therapy Blog

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