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Speech and Language Development - 2 to 3 years

(757) 668-7000

Language means using words and sentences to express needs, wants or ideas. Speech means making the sounds that make words. Learning to talk and communicate is a very important skill that children develop. Parents are usually the first to notice when their child has a problem with speech or language. If you think that your child is having a speech/language problem, contact your child’s doctor.

Understanding Sounds/Words (Receptive Language)

  • Understands colors and describing words
  • Understands opposites (on/off, up/down, fast/slow)
  • Understands and answers questions
  • Follows routine and new directions with more than one step
  • Understands most of what is said to him/her
  • Points to pictures in books
  • Understands 500-900 words

MakingSounds/Words (ExpressiveLanguage)

  • Uses 200-500 words that are understandable most of the time
  • Can say p, m, b, w, m, n, h, t, d correctly
  • Uses short sentences (2-4 words)
  • Can ask “what” and “where” questions
  • Makes errors in grammar/word order (e.g., “I runned outside”)
  • Requests items by name
  • Names objects to direct person’s actions
  • Frequently exhibits word and phrase repetitions (e.g.,“ She—She—She has the ball.”)
  • Speaks loudly

What you can do to help language development

  • Read books with your child frequently
  • Sing songs and nursery rhymes and do finger plays (e.g., Itsy Bitsy Spider)
  • Use simple, direct sentences
  • Ask questions that encourage your child to make choices instead of “yes” or “no” answers
  • Talk with your child during and about familiar activities
  • Play with your child on his/her level; pretend in play
  • Teach your child his/her first and last name

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 04/2014

(757) 668-7000