Occasionally a child may be slow in developing single words and starting to put them together into small sentences. A good rule of thumb is to expect the following:
- By 2 yrs of age: Your two year old should have a large single word vocabulary and be starting to put two words together in short sentences eg more juice, go home.
- By 3 yrs of age: A three year old should be talking in two/three words sentences eg me go home, me want juice. A Speech Pathologist can assess your child’s language skills in a formal way from the age of three years. In children under three years we conduct informal testing which involves asking the parent many questions about their child’s understanding of words and their verbal use of words and asking the child to perform certain tasks.
- By 4 yrs of age: A four year old should be talking in sentences with three/four words or more. They should be starting to use the little words in their sentences eg. the , a , is. A child’s expressive language, or verbal language, develops in a hierarchy and as they grow older they develop the skills to form differing types of sentences with a variety of grammatical items.
- By 5 yrs of age: At five years of age a child has developed a great many of the grammatical skills that he will need to use in his language.
It’s important to remember:
- If verbal skills are not there or are imperfect, there is a faulty base on which to develop written language skills as these two areas are closely related.
- Difficulties at word or sentence level can be reflected in your child’s ability to learn to read and write.
- Speech Pathologists are experts in the area of verbal language. They work closely with teachers who are responsible for teaching children to read and write.