By 3 – 4 years
One of the most common questions we hear is, “Is my child developing normally?” (or something to that effect). It’s important to remember that between the ages of 12-24 months there is some room to move in terms of what is considered “normal”. For example, some children by the age of 12 months will have multiple first words, while others may not start using words until a couple of months later. While there is a relatively large span of what is considered “normal”, children generally develop within certain timeframes, and there are things you should be on the lookout for.
From ages 3-4 years of age (and onwards), children continue to acquire language at a remarkable rate. This is generally a time for exploration, storytelling and play.
Below is a table that outlines some of the language and play skills a child should be developing between the age of 3 and 4 years. Below the table are some ‘red flags’ to be wary of.
|Receptive Language (Understanding)||Expressive Language(Talking)|
|Play & Pragmatics|
If you are worried about your child’s communication (even if you’re just unsure), it is advisable to contact a speech pathologist. Some things to watch out for are:
- A child is not using three to four word phrases independently (i.e. without imitating you)
- A child is showing signs of frustration that they are not understood
- Has difficulty answering simple “wh” questions – i.e. “who, where, what?”
- Speech is difficult to understand – Speech is less than 50% intelligible (or understandable) by two years or 75% by 3 years.
- A child is leaving the beginning or end sounds off most words.
- Has difficulty engaging in play with other children
- A child has an ‘unusual’ (or ‘husky’ ‘hoarse’) voice
Contact us for results focused speech therapy
This article was written by our speech pathologist Jenna Butterworth who is a Speech Pathology Australia member.
Lanza, J.R. & Flahive, L.K. (2008). LinguiSystems guide to communication milestones: 2009 Edition. East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems, Inc. Retrieved from LinguiSystems Guide to Communication Milestones (9-1-2012)
Paul, R. (2006). Language Disorders: From Infancy through Adolescence (3rd Ed). St Louis: Mosby Inc.