How do I know if my 2 year old needs speech therapy?

Eastside SpeechFAQs

How do I know if my 2 year old needs speech therapy?

Children’s speech under the age of 3 is extremely variable. Some 2-year-olds have amazing speech and communication skills, others do not. The best way to work out if you should have your two-year-old child’s speech and language skills reviewed by a speech pathologist/speech therapist, is to know what most 2-year-olds can do.

Here is a guide.

The average 2 year old:

  • Says about 200-300 words
  • Can put 2 words together like “baby eat, go home, my bear”
  • Starts to understands and uses questions like: What x doing?, Who coming? Where x going?
  • About 50% of their speech is understandable
  • They start to say words like “pat” correctly (with beginning and ending sounds), and say some 2 syllable words like “nana” (banana)

Other skills that Speech Pathologists are looking out for are:

  • Eye contact: 2-year-olds should be establishing eye contact, particularly when they want to ask you something
  • Play: They are enthusiastic to be with other children. They copy the activities of adults around them, like home chores or shopping. They will substitute objects for the real objects- eg, putting teddy in a box instead of a car. They pretend their doll or teddy can do things like people, for example, drink or sleep.
  • Defiance: this is normal & age appropriate for 2-year-olds!

Common signs of having a speech delay or language delay are when you notice that your 2-year-old is not able to do some of the activities listed above. Whilst there is variability, speech and language develops in an orderly way, and if your 2-year-old shows signs that they are falling behind in their milestones, early intervention is really important.

Having a speech and language delay often has implications for a child’s cognitive development (ie. their thinking and understanding), as well as for their social development. Autism Spectrum Disorder can now be identified in children as young as 12 months of age, and is often identified in 2-year-olds when they show signs of a speech delay or language problems.

If you are concerned about your child’s speech development, or are worried that they may show signs of a communicative disorder, get in touch with Eastside Speech Solutions on 02 9398 3020 or read more about our Speech Therapy for Toddlers & Preschoolers services.