Normal Speech and Language Growth: Ages 2 to 3 years
Thank you for joining me for week 5 of my Normal Speech and Language Development Series! This week I am narrowing my look at children ages two to three years of age, as well as exploring the vast range of "normal" that exists when looking at childhood development. Last week's post
cited information from both WebMD and ASHA regarding the typical speech and language skills of children in this age group. This week we will explore additional resources regarding this information.
The Babycenter website offers a concise list of what typically developing speech and language skills look like by age 3:
Use an active vocabulary of 300 or more words
Count to 3
Use some plurals
Use some past tense
Name major body parts
Use three-word sentences
Give name and age when asked
Respond to "wh" questions (who, what, when, where, why)
Be understood by non-family members
Talk constantly, narrate own play activity
Anyone who knows a typically developing 3 year-old would agree that some of these figures may actually be a bit conservative. For example, by age 3, some children may have an active vocabulary far above 300 words and may also be able to speak in 5+ word sentences consistently and effectively. However, the list presented above does offer a solid baseline of three year old speech and language development.
On the Child Development Institute website, there is a "Language Development in Children" chart which outlines milestones from ages 6 months to 4 years. The website also reminds readers that "There is a wide range of normal development". You can see the differences when you compare the following list for typically developing 3 year olds to the list above from Babycenter for the same age group:
Use pronouns I, you, me correctly
Is using some plurals and past tenses
Knows at least three prepositions, usually in, on, under
Knows chief parts of body and should be able to indicate these if not name
Handles three word sentences easily
Has in the neighborhood of 900-1000 words
About 90% of what child says should be intelligible
Verbs begin to predominate
Understands most simple questions dealing with his environment and activities
Relates his experiences so that they can be followed with reason
Able to reason out such questions as "what must you do when you are sleepy, hungry, cool, or thirsty?"
Should be able to give his sex, name, age
Should not be expected to answer all questions even though he understands what is expected
*So if you are confused about which number to use to compare your child's language development...
300 words or 900 words? Keep this piece of advice in mind:
The range of "normal" is broad and exists somewhere within the average of both.
As long as your child is continuing to expand their language on a weekly/monthly basis,
then normal development is most likely taking place.
However if you have concerns, share them with your pediatrician.