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"How do I know if my child needs speech/language therapy?"

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

The biggest indicator that your child might needs speech/language therapy is if they are not reaching typical milestones for their age. There are many different types of developmental milestones - physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and the big topic for today, communication. I feel like the most noticeable milestones are the physical milestones, like when your baby begins to walk. Your little one goes from crawling to taking their first steps to running around like crazy in a span of months. Just like there is a steady progression in your child walking, there is a a similar progression for communication or speech/language.

Speech/Language milestones are going to be the best indicator for parents if a child needs speech therapy. There are developmental steps in speech and language that a child should reach by a certain age. If your child is not reaching those milestones, he/she might benefit from speech therapy.

But what are those important early milestones? I'm glad you asked!

Adorable Things In Your Baby's First Year

It's difficult to think that even in your baby's first year that they have language milestones, but they do! All those super cute moments that have you reaching for the camera are actually important steps toward your little one talking. Here are some milestones that you can see in your baby's first year along with some video examples, because who doesn't love baby videos!

  • Phonation aka produce sound (e.g. cry, burp, sneeze)

  • Cooing

  • Babbling aka repeating syllables (e.g. "mama", "baba")

  • Variegated Babbling aka uses different syllable shapes (e.g. "ba-doo")

12 months - 18 months

Around a year is when all of that babbling will turn into actual words. So, around this time, you should expect that your child says their first word. Sometimes that word is "mama", sometimes it's "no". It's hard to know what their first word will be. During this time, they will also start to imitate animals sounds (e.g. "moo", "oink, oink").

Language Milestones

  • Says first word (e.g. "Mama")

  • Imitates animal sounds

18 months - 24 months

During this time, your child should start combining two words together and you'll notice that their vocabulary has increased. You should be hearing them say about 50 words. These will mostly be nouns -- food, animals, clothes (e.g. "more", "banana", "cow"). Typically, your baby's first 20 words are going to be slow and inconsistent. They will be words that they hear often and are easy to say, so don't be surprised if for a while your child says &