Speech Therapy for Toddlers & Kids

Parents often find it difficult to determine whether their child requires the help of a speech-language pathologist (speech therapist).All children are unique, finding their own special path to discovering their voice.

Speech therapy for toddlers and children is not uncommon.Children as young as 18 months old can benefit from visiting a speech-language pathologist.(Note that parent training of relevant techniques is often an essential part of speech therapy for children and toddlers).

So if you are unsure whether your child requires the assistance of a speech-language pathologist, here are a few key rules-of-thumb to help you answer that question:

At 12 months, your child should be able to:
• Anticipate events (e.g., a cup/bottle means getting a drink)
• Begin imitating sounds, words and actions
• Recognise his or her name
• Show interest in simple picture books
• Follow simple directions
• Point out objects of personal interest to an adult (like their favourite toy)
At 18 months, your child should be able to:
• Use at least 15 words
• Enjoy solitary play
• Have a limited sense of sharing
• Identify some body parts
• Ask simple questions such as “What’s that?”
• Pretend to feed a doll
• Recognise pictures when named
• Refer to himself or herself by name
At 2 years, your child should be able to:
• Follow simple directions
• Put toys away upon request
• Understand new words rapidly
• Use a vocabulary of 200-300 words
• Use two-word phrases such as “mommy up” or “baby sleep”
At 3 years, your child should be able to:
• Enjoy make-believe play
• Follow two step commands
• Have a 900–1000 word vocabulary
• Understand the difference between pictures and print
• Play in groups with other children
• Share toys for short periods of time
• Understand simple questions such as “Who?”, “What?”, “Where?” and “Why?”
At 4 years, your child should be able to:
• Ask a lot of questions
• Categorize objects (e.g.: understand that an apple is a fruit, and a shirt is a piece of clothing)
• Use a 1500 word vocabulary
• Match some letters with the sounds they represent (e.g., letter ‘t” sounds like “tuh”)
• Play and take turns in playing with others
• Rely on order of words for interpretation
• Enjoy role playing
• Tell stories with a beginning and an end
• Use complex sentences
At 5 years, your child should be able to:
• Follow game rules
• Discuss feelings
• Follow three step commands
• Use proper grammar 90% of the time
• Use about 2000 words
• Show interest in group activities
• Understand the concepts of before and after
• Speak clearly 90-100% of the time

Communication challenges should be addressed as soon as possible in a child’s life. However, you also will have to make a decision about what type of speech therapy is best in your situation.


Many children have special needs and challenges that require focused treatments and therapies. These diverse treatments and therapies might be beyond the scope of a speech-language pathologist working on his or her own. That’s why we have such a large team at The Speech Therapy Centres of Canada to make sure we can always do everything possible to help, support and nurture your child’s development.

And, speech therapy can be fun!At our centres, we use videos, pictures, iPads or even video games to help children with their speech and language challenges.We work hard to tailor our therapies to each child’s unique needs. If you feel that your toddler or child may be challenged in his or her communication, we’re here to help.

CONTACT US today, and book your child’s speech-language assessment with us!