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Monitoring Toddler Speech

Updated: Jul 18, 2020

What to do when you suspect you have a toddler with a speech delay?

Speaking from personal experience, monitoring your little one’s speech can be an overwhelming task. During her 24 month checkup, My daughter's doctor asked me how many words she was using. That question made me so uncomfortable and I stumbled through an answer. The doctor said if we couldn't identify significantly more words by her 2.5 year check up then we would consider getting her evaluated.⁠

As an educator, I understood that this was a very logical course of action and would greatly benefit my daughter if she were struggling in the area of speech. The problem was that I couldn't say for sure if she was struggling.

According to Mayo Clinic, by age 3, MOST children say about 50 words and use simple 1-2 word phrases. In the third year of life, children’s vocabulary grows exponentially and children are expected to know at least 200 words and use 2-3 word sentences. However, the sky is the limit and many children use many more words than expected and much longer sentences.

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The concern comes when children are not meeting these benchmarks. As parents, we know our children best, but sometimes that can be a hindrance when reporting on our own children’s language development. Our intimate relationships with our children enables us to know what they mean to say even if it wasn’t clearly, or even verbally, stated.

When analyzing your child’s speech, it can be difficult to use an objective lens. This is why I created a document that takes a closer look at speech production in small children. The document contains a sentence measure, which measures and compares the length of sentences used by the child, and a word count, which counts the number of words the child uses. Ideally, when completing these forms, parents and caregivers should consider the child’s speech that can be understood by a stranger.

I found this document to be extremely helpful when preparing for my daughter's next visit. My husband and I sat down one night and first thought of the sentences she uses. Then, I wrote all the words within those sentences, individually on the Word Count form.

Instead of repeating sentences that are largely the same minus one or two words (e.g. want strawberries, want orange juice, want potty), I wrote one form of the sentence, then added the other words that she uses to the Word Count form.

Needless to say, we came prepared to my daughter's next check up! And her doctor deemed further evaluation to be unnecessary.

This document is now available to you for FREE on our website. Click here and come prepared to your toddler's next check up!⁠

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