2 - 3 years speech development
Speech development at this age continues apace. Her pronunciation will begin to improve as she masters new sound combinations but many of the more difficult sounds – ‘k’ ‘g’ ‘sl’ ‘tr’ – will still be beyond her capabilities.
Developmental milestones include:
By 2 ½ years:
- strangers will begin to be able to understand her
- she will begin to speak in full sentences
- she will begin to use plurals and pronouns – I, he, they, we – correctly
- she is beginning to use the past tense
By 3 years:
- she will understand the majority of what you say to her
- she will have up to 1000 words in her vocabulary
What can I do to encourage her language development?
- Have a conversation with your child daily and ask her questions that she’ll be able to answer. Repeat and expand on what she says, eg. She says ‘boat’ and you respond with, ‘yes, there’s a big red boat on the water’
- When she talks to you, show her that you’re interested in what she’s saying. Don’t hurry her, correct her speech or interrupt. If she says a word incorrectly, repeat the word so she can hear how the word is pronounced correctly.
- If she asks you a question, give her an answer in language that she’ll be able to understand
- Give her the space she needs to talk. Don’t let siblings interrupt her or allow them to do her talking for her.
- Read with her every day and talk with her about the story and the pictures
- Borrow some new books to read from the library – and make sure that you let her choose one or two herself
- Encourage her to talk slowly – toddlers in their enthusiasm to communicate often stumble over their words
- When you’re teaching her a new word, get down on your knees so she can see your lips as you say the new word
- Listen to music she can sing along to, or a book on CD that she will enjoy hearing
- Talk, talk, talk to her! She will only learn to talk by hearing language around her. Tell her what you’re doing as you go about the daily chores.
- Always praise her efforts at speech
Signs that suggest a developmental problem:
By 3 years:
- She doesn’t often use words to communicate
- You can’t understand most of what she is saying
- She often repeats sounds or part-words
- She lengthens sounds or seems to get stuck saying a word.
If you have any concerns at any stage about your child’s speech, talk to your local health practitioner who may refer your child a speech pathologist for assessment.
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