What should my child be saying or doing?

Speech Therapy Intervention from Birth

Children Playing With Painting
Babies from birth to 12 months who are most likely to need early language or feeding intervention from a speech pathologist are:

  • Babies born before 34 weeks gestation
  • Premature babies with a low birth weight < 2500gms
  • Infants with Apgar Scores of < 5 at 1 and 5 min
  • Infants who have suffered respiratory distress
  • Infants from low stimulating environments (e.g. where the mother has significant PND).

12 month old babies are:

  • Engaging in social games like peek-a-boo or waving hello and goodbye to familiar people
  • Appearing to understand simple commands, such as "no" or recognise their own name.
  • Attempting to make familiar sounds, such as car and animal noises.
  • Attempting to say a few words or appearing to enjoy songs, music and books.
  • Managing lumpy food and a variety of different tastes a textures
  • Have been babbling using different consonant sounds (e.g bubadututowee) for the last four months
    Imitating the actions of adults around them
  • Playing with dolls with the head upright and vertical to the ground.

18 month old infants are:

  • Using single words frequently to interact with others.
  • Pretending to act out short, familiar sequences in their play (e.g. baby bottle, pour tea).
  • Imitating two and three word phrases and environmental noises.
  • Using speech to indicate at least two of their needs (infants who have had frequent ear infections up to this age are at risk for speech and language development).
  • Using one simple imaginative action in play such as cuddling, sleeping or feeding
  • Using objects functionally such as placing a spoon in a cup.
  • Imitating a pretend play action such as giving a drink or putting a doll to bed.
  • Role playing actions they have previously seen such as sweeping or sorting the washing

Two year old toddlers are:

Little boy playing with can phone connected by string, concept f

  • Saying the names of simple body parts, such as nose or tummy.
  • Sitting and listening to stories and say the names of pictures.
  • Responding to simple questions such as "where's your shoes?"
  • looking at you when they are wanting your attention or when you are talking to them.
  • Using more than fifty words combined into simple sentences such as "milk all gone", "daddy work", "yukky drink", "Susie sock", "more juice" etc.
  • Talking to themselves or their toys during play.
  • Playing games around themes that reflect their daily life such as washing the dishes, fixing the car or going shopping.
  • Using play actions that are simple, sequential and logical
  • Able to use an inanimate object to represent another e.g. use a box as a car or a table.
  • Requesting objects they want to use in their play
  • Imitating another child
  • Giving more attention to dolls. They might try to put the doll in a car or even try to sit in the doll’s pram.

Two and a half year old toddlers are:

  • Acting out longer play sequences e.g. making the cake, putting it in the oven and giving everyone a piece.
  • Following two step unrelated commands such as"take off your shoe and come to the table".
  • Answering yes and no questions correctly.
  • Using a lot of different of sounds when talking (Children who leave off the initial or final sounds in words consistently) should also be assessed.
  • Playing less frequently experienced life events such as a trip on the train, a visit to the doctor etc.
  • Acting out detailed and logical play themes with not planned story-line.
  • Able to use the same inanimate object for two or more functions and can even use an inanimate object as a doll
  • Playing beside other children
  • Able to role play someone else but only for a very short period of time.

Three year old children are:

  • The speech of three year olds should be understood 75-100% of the time.
  • Using three to four word sentences.
  • Performing a three step, unrelated command (e.g. close the book, come to the table and give me the cup).
  • Enjoying telling stories and relating past experiences using verbs or descriptors, which express physical states e.g. cold, wet, hard etc. Parents of three year old children should be reporting that once they hear a child saying a word, it remains in their child’s speech repertoire and does not disappear. At three parents should not be saying "He used to say that but now he doesn't".
  • Playing games that they may not have experienced personally such as firemen performing a rescue
  • Acting out events that occur in a logical sequence
  • Use inanimate object for many functions.
  • Referring to imaginary object more as they get closer to 4 years.
  • Playing the same game beside another child but there is little negotiation
  • Playing roles fluidly
  • Fully utilising doll’s houses and characteristics start to be attributed to the doll

Four year old children are:

Cute girl laughing and playing with autumn leaves in park

  • Understanding shape and colour names.
  • Asking who, what and why questions.
  • Using at least 900 words in four to five word sentences.
  • Using grammatical endings correctly with the very odd exception.
  • Using language when playing with other children.
  • Playing themes which also include sub-plots such as home corner play
  • Pre-planning storylines with complex sequences and sub-plots
  • Using objects with a distant function in play such as a hat for a boat.
  • Co-operating and negotiating with other children in play
  • Able to play several different roles in one session
  • Create a character for a doll

Five year old children are:

  • Understanding the meaning of opposites, such as high and low, wet and dry, big and little.
  • Using sentences of about six words with correct grammar.
  • Explaining why something happens, or might happen such as "The policeman will stop you if you are speeding".
  • Saying how they feel and tell you their ideas.
  • Beginning to develop an interest in words such as rhyming words, long words, short words, words beginning with sh etc (Five year olds should have a mastery of all their speech sounds with the exception of "v" and "th").
  • Are able to count the number of words in a short sentence.
  • Can identify the initial sound of words.
  • Understanding that print carries meaning.
  • Using imaginary objects fluently and describing objects and their function in their game
  • Well organised in their play co-operating and negotiating well with other children and adults
  • Able to maintain the same role throughout the play session
  • Describe the doll and his/her character and what he/she does or needs to do in the game.

Six year old children are:

  • Telling a story with a beginning, middle and end.
  • Answering questions which require problem solving, e.g. what will happen if we………., why can’t we…………, what should we do………………? etc.
  • Able to identify the word starting with a different sound from a group of 4 words e.g. pig, pen, pencil, moon (moon).
  • Identifying the beginning, middle and end sounds in a word.
  • Making associations between the sounds and letters.
  • Understanding the book title and story conventions.
  • Recognising that long and short refers to the number of syllables or letters in a word rather   than the meaning of the word.

Seven year old children are:Father Reading A Book To Children

  • Understanding jokes based on the fact a word can have more than one meaning e.g. Why is the ocean wet? Answer “Because the sea weed”.
  • Identifying long and short words by the number of syllables or letters.
  • Breaking words up into syllables to spell longer words.
  • Classifying according to alphabetical order.
  • Understanding that one word can be made up of a combination of words and these can be broken up to make other words e.g. matchstick = match + stick ……… stick - broomstick, match – matchbox etc