Back to Home Skip Navigation LinksHome Knowledge Center When Should a Child See a Speech Therapist?
Back to Knowledge Center Results

When Should a Child See a Speech Therapist?

Common signs of speech delay or communication problems vary by age. If you are concerned about your child's speech or language development, a speech-language pathologist can help identify a communication delay or disorder and set up an individualized therapy plan.

The list below includes signs of speech-language disorders by age.

Signs of Speech-Language Delays or Disorders

1 year of age

• No babbling
• No imitation
• No reaction to sound
• Limited use of gestures

2 years of age

• No first words
• Minimal attempts to communicate
• Difficulty following simple direction
• Inconsistent response to "no"

3 years of age

• Produces at most 2-word phrases
• Limited or no speech sounds
• Speech is not understandable
• Limited understanding of simple questions
• Difficulty naming objects or pictures
• Frustration related to communication

4 years of age

• Produces at most 3-word phrases
• Speech less than 50% intelligible for parents
• Slow to understand language
• Difficulty asking questions
• Difficulty finding words to express thoughts

5 years of age

• Speaks only in simple sentences
• Difficulty answering questions
• Difficulty with complex directions
• Difficulty telling stories
• Difficulty with peer interactions


• Difficulty with reading, writing, and math
• Produces sentences with grammar errors
• Limited vocabulary compared to peers
• Produces speech with sound errors
• Difficulty with social interactions


• Unusual voice quality
• Disfluency of speech, such as stuttering

Adaptation of:

Visser-Bochane, M. I., Gerrits, E., Schans, C. P., Reijneveld, S. A., & Luinge, M. R. (2016). A typical speech and language development: A consensus study on clinical signs in the Netherlands International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 52(1), 10-20. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12251

Language and Learning Speech Therapy



Benefits of Clear Face Masks for Individuals Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing of Clear Face Masks for Individuals Who are Deaf and Hard of HearingHearing and Balance
Pediatric Neurology: Trystyn’s Story Neurology: Trystyn’s StoryPediatric NeurologyPatient Story
Urologic Surgical Issues in Pediatric Patients Surgical Issues in Pediatric PatientsSurgery and Hospital CarePhysician Education