An adult doing online speech therapy at home

What Age is Best for Speech Therapy?

Starting in the first few months of life, children begin developing the communication skills that will be the building blocks to help them succeed at home, in school, and later in life. Studies have shown that 1 in 10 children will need extra support in order to develop appropriate communication skills. Without proper support and guidance, a child may struggle with basic speech and language skills, and eventually, their ability to read and write, or engage in play and interactions with other children can also be affected. Early intervention with a speech-language pathologist offers the best outcome for children who may have a speech or language delay or other condition that affects their communication skills. You can learn more about the importance of early intervention and how speech therapy can help a child develop age-appropriate speech and language skills by scheduling your free introductory call today. 

At What Age Should You Worry About a Child Not Talking?

While there are some speech and language milestones that children should be meeting at specific ages, it is important to note that children develop at different rates, and skills can be acquired at varying rates and orders. Just because your child may not have met all these milestones by the respective age does not mean that your child has a speech or language delay. However, if you are concerned about your child’s development at all, it is best to seek support from a speech-language pathologist right away. Delaying seeking appropriate support and resources for your child could only result in them falling further behind and losing time that cannot be replaced. 

The First Year

So what are some of the developmental norms for speech and language development in young children? Over the course of their first year, children should be observed to see how and if they are using their voices to interact with and relate to their environment. Babbling and cooing are the earliest stages of sound production and speech development. As children get older, sometime around the 9-month mark, they begin to piece sounds together, are beginning to incorporate different tones of speech, and may start saying words like “Mama” and “Dada” though they may not know the meaning of these words yet. By their first birthday, babies should also be attentive to sounds in general and begin to recognize names of common objects such as ‘cup’ or ‘bed.’ They should also be able to recognize and respond to their names. Babies who watch others with intention, but aren’t reacting to sound, could be showing signs of hearing loss. If your child has not started babbling or producing letter sounds by their first birthday, seek the help and advice of a speech-language pathologist. Start now by scheduling your free introductory call today! 

After Their First Birthday

In the six months after their first birthday, children should be developing a wide range of speech sounds in their babbling, specifically, the p, b, m, d, or n letter sounds. They should also be beginning to imitate sounds and words demonstrated by family members and caregivers, and can typically say one or several words other than “Mama” and “Dada.” In most cases, nouns come first, such as “dog” or “ball.” 

From 18-24 months, children can develop in varying degrees. Most toddlers of this age are saying about 20 words and as many as 50 or more words by the time they turn two. By their second birthday, children are starting to combine words together to make two-word concepts such as “dog barking” or “more please.” Most two-year-olds should be able to identify common objects and should also be able to point to their facial features when asked. 

By Age 3 

Between the age of two and three, major developments are happening with speech and language skills. Most toddlers’ vocabulary will increase to too many words to count, and they should routinely combine three or more words. Comprehension skills are also developing at this age, and children should be able to follow 2 or 3 step directions such as “please take this and put it on the table.”

If your child reaches the age of 3 without meeting some of the appropriate milestones or significant development in their speech and language skills, they would likely benefit from speech therapy. It is best to seek help from an SLP before the child becomes school-aged, as they will likely fall further behind once they enter the school system. 

What Age is Best for Speech Therapy? What Age is Too Old for Speech Therapy?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are experts in working with people of all ages and are experienced in working with children as young as 6 months old and adults who are well into their senior years. While early intervention offers the best outcome when it comes to helping someone with a speech or language disorder, speech therapy can be highly effective and beneficial to adults as well. No age is too old for speech therapy, and it is never too late to start working towards meeting your communication goals. Improving your speech, language, and communication skills can benefit someone of any age and can help you to excel in all areas of your life and boost your confidence. The best age for speech therapy is the age at which one (or their loved one) seeks out help from an experienced and knowledgeable speech and language pathologist. And now, with speech therapy online, making time with a speech therapist is easier, more enjoyable, and more convenient than ever. Don’t wait any longer, get started by scheduling your free introductory call today!