Your baby is growing up so quickly, they’ll soon be a toddler before you know it.
Preschool may be around the corner, but you’re feeling concerned. Your child isn’t speaking as clearly or as often as you expected by now. Maybe other kids just seem to be more verbal, talkative, or engaging.
Are they on track with 2 year old speech milestones compared to others? Learn more about what you should know, how you can help, and if speech therapy at home may be right for you and your child.
What are some 2 year old speech milestones? What is normal speech for a 2 year old?
At 24 months of age, your 2 year old should meet the following speech milestones:
- Be able to say sentences with at least two to four words
- Use and understand at least 50 words
- Follow simple instructions
- Initiate conversations
- Shows excitement when interacting with other children
- Look for familiar objects around a room, or call out loud and name specific objects
If your child is still occasionally babbling or speaking in a way where you can’t understand everything precisely, don’t worry. At 2 years old, parents and caregivers should understand roughly 50% of a child’s speech.
When should I be concerned about my 2 year old’s speech?
If your child hasn’t yet met all these 2 year old speech milestones, you shouldn’t worry. Each child’s development journey is unique. What you can do is ensure you express your concerns with your child’s doctor.
If your child hasn’t yet started to talk, you may also be concerned about their speech delay. This likely became a concern during earlier screenings that you discussed with your doctor, especially at 12 months when you considered your child’s 1 year old speech milestones. If you didn’t address this during previous check-ups, now is the time.
If you feel as though your child’s doctor isn’t providing thorough care, consider asking for a second opinion.
Does my 2 year old have a speech delay? How do I know?
Here are a few 2 year old speech milestones to evaluate a speech delay. You should share the following concerns with your child’s doctor if they:
- Say only a few sounds or words with significant repetition
- Can’t use their words to describe immediate needs
- Can only imitate speech — unable to produce words spontaneously
- Have difficulty understanding simple requests
Delays are detected through developmental and behavioral screening. These are generally performed at scheduled intervals by your child’s doctor at the following well-child visits:
- 9 months
- 18 months
- 24 or 30 months
This is a basic screening tool — not a true diagnosis. It merely indicates if your child is on track with their developmental milestones.
If you feel as though your child’s doctor is not appropriately examining your child, be persistent! Your doctor likely does not spend extended periods of time with your child, but you do. When a doctor identifies a problem, their next step will be to order a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation.
During a comprehensive evaluation, your child’s behavior will be thoroughly analyzed. Experts will administer examinations that may include a hearing and vision screening, genetic testing, neurological exam, and other medical testing.
This comprehensive developmental evaluation is an in-depth look at your child’s development. This involves multiple clinical experts, including a developmental pediatrician, audiologist, child psychologist, child neurologist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, among others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A speech delay can be the result of an oral impairment with your child’s tongue or palate. It may also be an oral-motor problem, where the brain has difficulty communicating with the lips, tongue, and jaw to verbally produce sounds. Hearing issues may also contribute to speech language development problems.
How can I improve my 2 year old’s speech? What can I do at home to help?
Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in speech language development. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can help your child.
Reading to your child is the best way to expand your child’s vocabulary and promote language development. Picking out a variety of books and stories with colorful illustrations and new words, animals, or people is highly recommended. Be sure to select books that are appropriate for your child’s age.
Throughout the day, you can work conversations with your child into learning lessons. Whether you’re at the park, walking the dog, at the grocery store, you can explain to your child who the mailman is, what you should do with your shoes, how you turn on the lights, where the magazines go back, when you’ll be done, or why you’re chopping peppers for dinner. These are all daily scenarios that build positive language development, and when your child practices them with you, they’ll learn new speech habits as a baby, toddler, or 2 year old.
What are signs of autism in a 2 year old?
Autism spectrum disorder is difficult to pinpoint before your child is 24 months old.
Do you suspect your 2 year old has autism spectrum disorder (or ASD)? Here are 10 signs to keep an eye on:
- Seldom uses eye contact
- Difficulty in showing affection
- Rarely responding to their name when called
- Rarely shows interest in playing with other children
- Not consistently gestures (wave “bye bye” or clap)
- Seldom asks for help
- Repeats the same words or phrases constantly without an interest in communicating
- Struggles to follow simple directions
- Rarely engages in or initiates a conversation, for example pointing to a dog, make a barking noise, and making eye contact with you to ensure you heard them
- Regressing from earlier learned language skills, or suddenly no longer progressing in vocabulary or language development
Many of these communication differences in children with Autism are highlighted by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
It’s important to remember that just because your 2 year old has one or a few of these signs of Autism spectrum disorder, this does not mean they have autism. Be sure to express your concerns with your child’s pediatrician and advocate for a formal evaluation.
How does speech therapy help my 2 year old?
Individual sessions that follow a structured, comprehensive plan are critical to success. At Great Speech, our licensed speech-language pathologists meet with you and your child at the most convenient times, without the headaches of tiring traffic or waiting rooms.
Our speech-language pathologists will analyze what your child understands, what language they can articulate, how they develop sounds and how clearly they speak, and any oral-motor impairments. Because each child is different, these steps help produce a customized plan for your child.
Schedule an introductory phone call today to learn more about how we’ll help your child swiftly move past their 2 year old speech milestones — all from the comfort of your own home.